High school dedicates monument to veterans

Navy Pilot Scott Speicher 1 of 14 veterans honored

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local high school dedicated a monument, honoring local veterans, community members gathered Saturday to honor the Scott Speicher Memorial at Forest High School in Jacksonville.

Dave Seamans, the President for Florida Fallen Heroes, says Duval County has the first 12 monuments his group has dedicated.

"It means quite a bit," said Seamans. "It means honor, pride, dedication, commitment, loyalty, and paying it forward."

Seamans said the people here have a connection to the location and to the monument. To each of them, they said it's priceless, timeless and touches them deeply.

Shelley Levan said she is here to honor her cousin.

My cousin Kevin was killed in Vietnam just like many others were," said Levan. "I think this is awesome that his high school and the alumni put this together with a lot of other great benefactors just to have this for people, like my aunt, to remember their son."

Joann Gutcher said she lost her son.

"It means a lot my son was buried in Arlington National cemetery, so I don't have the option of going and sitting at his grave and this kind of gives me a place to go now to where I can," said Gutcher. "I feel I can connect to him."

This specific memorial also remembers Scott Speicher, perhaps the very first American casualty in the first Gulf War. His remains finally recovered in 2009 and returned home for burial.

More than just for Speicher and his family, this monument will stand for heroes.

"It's just it's just heartfelt and warm because we don't want nobody to forget what our sons and daughters did for this country and the sacrifice for our freedom," said Anna Valentine, who lost her son.

--Scott Speicher

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