History in the Making: The Newest Cardinal Recruits
In addition to telling the stories of St. Louis and its military, veterans, and wartime past, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum serves as a place for our city's active-duty military and veterans to write their own stories through a wide range of activities, such as service projects, parades, meetings, and ceremonies. Although the building and Court of Honor are currently closed for construction, the Missouri Historical Society and the City of St. Louis are committed to making sure the military and veteran activities typically held at Soldiers Memorial continue—even if they happen at alternative locations until Soldiers Memorial reopens in 2018. A recent example was the swearing in of the 58th Cardinal Division.
The Navy Recruiting District St. Louis usually holds this ceremony on the Chestnut-side steps of Soldiers Memorial, but last month the district held the ceremony outside of City Hall's 1200 Market Street entrance. Nearly 50 recruits from Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Kentucky were sworn into service in the U.S. Navy as members of Cardinal Division, the oldest sponsored recruit division in the military. (Cardinal Division recruits go into naval service together as a unit, starting with basic training.)
The day began when the Cardinal Division recruits marched in formation to City Hall. The recruits then stood in position on the steps of City Hall while Rear Admiral Jeffrey Hughes, commander of the Navy Recruiting Command, led them through the ceremony and administered the oath. After a celebratory picnic, the recruits marched to Busch Stadium for a Cardinals baseball game where they were introduced on the field and watched the game together as a unit. After the game, the newly sworn-in recruits said good-bye to their families and loaded onto buses: The next chapter in their military service, seven weeks of boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, was about to begin.
As with this year’s Cardinal Division swearing-in ceremony, the construction at Soldiers Memorial will mean some changes in the location for St. Louis’s regional Veterans Day Observance activities happening on November 5, 2016. However, these changes will be very slight. For more information as it becomes available, you can sign up to receive our Soldiers Memorial eUpdate or follow Soldiers Memorial on Facebook.
—Lynnea Magnuson, Soldiers Memorial