Jacksonville events honor fallen heroes during Memorial Day

Emotional services were held at Jacksonville National Cemetery, Veterans Memorial Wall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The City of Jacksonville held Veterans Memorial Wall at the annual Memorial Day Observance Monday to honor fallen heroes.

The free event paid tribute to the brave service members who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and served as a space for people to come together and pay homage to those sacrifices.

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Tributes poured in from local and state leaders. Governor Ron DeSantis provided remarks during Monday’s event at the Veterans Memorial Wall.

“When I look at Memorial Day, these are really the indispensable Americans that we celebrate today,” Gov. DeSantis said.

DeSantis remembered his time in the military and shared opening remarks.

“People understand that freedom isn’t free, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice have earned our enduring debt and gratitude for their selfless service,” DeSantis said.

Mayor-Elect Donna Deegan spoke with several military families at the ceremony offering gratitude.

“I think gratitude goes a really long way to families who have just gone through such an unthinkable situation, with a loved one whose lost life to such a great sacrifice,” Deegan said.

Service wreaths were placed in front of the Veterans Memorial Wall, which lists the names of all the Jacksonville service members who gave the greatest sacrifice for our nation. The Veterans Memorial Wall is also the second-largest memorial wall in the United States, according to the City of Jacksonville.

An event was also held at Jacksonville National Cemetery. The cemetery’s Memorial Day observance was a chance for some to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We owe our way of life to those who serve, past, present and future,” Will Williams, V.P. of Connect at the Wounded Warrior Project, said.

The emotional service featured music and 22,000 flags that had been placed at 22,000 gravesites to honor the 22,000 heroes who served the nation and are now buried at Jacksonville National Cemetery.

In addition to an American flag, hand-crafted Flags of Valor commemorative tokens were placed at the resting places of fallen heroes. The Wounded Warrior Project partnered with Travis Manion Foundation for their annual “The Honor Project” to provide the tokens.

Bryan Cole traveled from South Carolina to visit Jacksonville and drove to the cemetery to pay his respects.

“It’s kind of sobering to see that these many people died for our freedoms and there’s only one day to remember them, it should be every day because they live in freedom every day,” Cole said.

About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.