Wentzville continues to honor its fallen hero, Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.
On Friday, August 27, just a day after the news of Schmitz’s death broke, hundreds of people lined several blocks of Wentzville Parkway with flags and signs in recognition of Schmitz’s ultimate sacrifice.
That evening at 8 p.m., at the request of Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione, the community was asked to observe a moment of silence, and to leave their porch lights on in remembrance.
Then, over the weekend, many Wentzville restaurants paid tribute to Schmitz and the other 12 fallen service members with tribute tables, and the restaurants and other Wentzville businesses donated proceeds to a fund to help the Marine’s family. One family manned a lemonade stand and donated the proceeds to the memorial fund, which was set up by The St. Louis Hero Network.
A group of citizens lead by Alderman Tricia Byrnes placed flags offered by the local Coldwell Banker/Gundaker Realty office on Wentzville Parkway and in the subdivision streets leading to the Schmitz family home. The flags, normally placed for the annual Fourth of July celebration, now stand in tribute to the fallen marine. Each day, residents respectfully reset and repair the flags so that they may continue to keep their silent vigil until the fallen hero is laid to rest.
More events honoring Schmitz are planned:
- On Friday, September 3, the FOR OUR 13 Ruck March will meet at the Warrenton Armory parking lot, and at 6:30 a.m. will cross over the highway and walk Veterans Memorial Parkway to Osage County Guns in Wright City. More information is available on the Facebook event page: “If you feel like you can’t ruck the full 13 miles join us at the half-way point at Osage County Guns. Even if you can’t join the ruck feel free to come out and line the streets showing support for our fallen soldiers and fly our flag. EMS will follow behind for medical needs. There will also be multiple sponsors along the way providing water.”
- On Saturday, September 4, A memorial cruise sponsored by the Gateway Hustle Car Club, will start at the Hotshots Sports Bar and Grill, 49 Wentzville Bluffs Drive. A Facebook event set up for the event says that the cars will leave promptly at 10 a.m. and will drive from Interstate Drive to Wentzville Parkway with a police escort. “Please invite everyone you know. We want to show his family just how much support they have behind them. Bring flags, noise makers, signs, bubbles, everything.”
At the upcoming September 8 Board of Alderman meeting, a proclamation will be read for Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, and city officials are in discussion about plans for a veterans memorial plaza at the new recreation center. A petition on Change.org to name the new Wentzville recreation center after Schmitz has 4,451 signers at the time of this writing.
Plans have also been mentioned about a candlelight vigil, but no further information is available at this time.
At the outpouring of support from the community, Jared’s father, Mark Schmitz, posted the following on Facebook:
“I wanted to take a moment to extend a tremendous THANK YOU to literally the thousands of people (some I know and some are complete strangers) who have extended their hands, hearts and hugs to his mother Sue and I and the rest of our families. Your love and support have definitely made a difference in our lives. His mother Sue and I returned home last night from Dover Air Force Base. We were able to receive his body stateside along with the 12 other families in a beautiful ceremony. Seeing the pain and anger on the faces of the other grieving families was incredibly difficult. We were greeted by 4 star generals and heads of state who had many powerful words for us and nothing but the utmost respect for our son Jared. We were given the time to tell his story to each and everyone of them in our own way. Now that we are home we prepare to welcome Jared back home to St Louis in another week or so. Funeral arrangements are being made and will be announced once final. He will be laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks with full honors.
“Thank you again to everyone from the bottom of our hearts which are refilling with hope and love thanks to all of you.”