The Jacksonville monument that honors the service and sacrifice of local Vietnam veterans was rededicated Friday.
The city has moved the monument from its original location at the former Duval County Courthouse to outside the Veterans Memorial Arena.
The city’s military affairs department said the monument had been moved to give it more exposure. It’s now in a place that has more foot traffic.
Local Vietnam veterans, who are among the largest veteran population in the U.S., were instrumental in getting this done.
“A rededication ceremony will show that Jacksonville really gets it, really appreciates the service and sacrifice by our military men and women, and I’m just proud to be a part of it and I am so proud of the city,” said Rear Adm. Vic Guillory, who serves as the director of military affairs for the city of Jacksonville.
The monument was originally dedicated and placed at the old courthouse on Bay Street in 1974.
“We were still engaged in Vietnam, and for many of us, we recall that our country had difficulty separating the war from the warriors," Guillory said. "Yet Jacksonville early on decided that a monument was appropriate to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who served in Vietnam. That says a lot about out city."
Working together, the veterans and the city decided the Veterans Memorial Arena was a more appropriate area for the monument.
“I think that our citizens will not only see it in a prominent place, a more deserving place, but will have an opportunity perhaps to inform their children about the Vietnam War; one of the most costly wars in our history,” Guillory said.
Friday's ceremony included a Color Guard from the Vietnam Veterans Association and several speakers.
“We’re not just moving it, we’re taking the time to refurbish it," Guillory said. "So there’s a lot of an effort ongoing this week to make the rededication ceremony a terrific opportunity to execute a pause as a community and to say thank you to our Vietnam veterans.”