A woman whose father was a veteran didn’t know what to do with his medals and military memorabilia after he died. So, she ended up selling them at a garage sale.
She was upset to later find out that they could have gone to a museum.
Now, a group in St. Charles is working to create a veterans museum.
Organizers said they’re looking for donations or if a family wants to keep the memorabilia, they can loan it to the museum.
Ralph Barrale, 93, wanted to start the museum.
Barrale was a young kid from north St. Louis when he fought in World War II.
He was among the troops who helped liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp.
“I couldn’t believe it, nobody prepared us for what we saw, nobody prepared us for what we saw and I still have nightmares on that,” Barrale said.
He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and to this day remembers the blood on the snow.
“The snow, whenever it snows here I think about that and I get chills,” he said. “Something that stays with you no matter what you do because you lived it.”
A few years ago, Barrale met Jim Frain and they discussed the idea of the museum.
“He said ‘I wish I was 25 years’ and I said ‘Ralph I’m 25 years younger than you, let’s see what we can do,’” said Frain.
They are both now part of a committee of about a dozen working on the museum.
The city of O’Fallon has agreed to lease them they city annex building for one dollar a year after it moves out next year.
They are hoping to have it set up by the spring of 2019.
Barrale shared with News 4 what he hopes visitors will take away from the museum.
“The knowledge that freedom isn’t free,” he said.
To learn more about the museum, visit the group's Facebook page.
Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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