On November 9, 1861, the first edition of the Stars and Stripes military newspaper was printed in Bloomfield. A new Missouri law will create the “Stars and Stripes Historic Region” with markings and signs along the I-55 corridor in eastern and southeastern Missouri.

Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, carried the bill in the Missouri House of Representatives. The U.S. Army Green Beret veteran said the newspaper is a link back to home for soldiers.

“When mail call came and your name wasn’t called, you didn’t receive any mail, and you could always go to the PX or the commissary and pick up a copy of Stars and Stripes. There was a section in there- it was about Missouri. So, it was your connection back to home when you really didn’t have any other ones,” said Griffith.

Griffith said the lengths to get the newspapers to soldiers is not a breeze.

“Many of us wondered how that paper ever came,” he said. “It always seemed to show up. The most dangerous mail route in the world and those are people that fly those papers in in all kinds of circumstances.”

Griffith said the designation will help to increase tourism. Two other tourist spots in the region include the Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Perryville.

The costs for the designation and signs will be paid for by private donation.

A ceremonial bill signing on SB 139 was held Monday in Jefferson City.

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