At the ceremony, two names were officially added to the granite, honoring more than 1,700 service members with Jacksonville ties.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Even during a global pandemic that turned everyday life upside down, the eternal flame on the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall continued to burn to honor those who died while serving in the military.
It burned on the wall on Memorial Day Monday, and also in a 30-minute video produced by the City of Jacksonville, when they held a virtual ceremony for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 health precautions.
The video was made available on social media and on the city’s Youtube channel at 8 a.m. on Monday. The video was supposed to offer the mix of music and testimonials that traditionally make up the visit that drew several thousand people before COVID-19.
War memorials commemorate the fallen
US Navy Captain Darren Stennett, region chaplain of the Navy Region Southeast, established a connection between Jacksonville’s black granite wall and another war memorial “on the snow-capped Himalayas” bearing the famous epitaph on those who sacrificed their tomorrow for others to have theirs today.
“Almighty God, like this little tablet, this sacred wall forces us to pause and honor these brave warriors and others like them who have devoted all of their tomorrow to the ideals of our great nation – the ideals of freedom, justice.” Freedom, “said Stennett in the opening prayer.
“We pray for the day that the last trumpet will sound, the last flag will be folded and the last greeting will be pronounced, and all the last mornings to this day will be given away,” he said.
Add the names of those who died in the service
At the ceremony, the names of Quentin Jones, who died while serving in the Army, and Jason Recker, who died while serving in the Navy, were officially added on the granite honoring more than 1,700 soldiers with Jacksonville ties.
More:Jacksonville pays tribute to fallen military heroes on Saturday’s Veterans Memorial Wall
USS Stark reminder: Atlantic Beach ceremony honors 37 Mayport sailors killed in a missile attack in 1987
“I’m just so proud of him,” said Eric Jones, Quentin Jones’ uncle. “I miss him so much. Not a day goes by when someone thinks of him, talks about him.”
Melissa Recker, Jason Recker’s widow, said: “His children were his world”.
He served in active service in the Navy from 1994 to 1998, then joined the Navy Reserve and served three times in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2016 he returned to active service.
“He was just so honored to serve his country for over 24 years,” she said.
Jones died while on active duty on June 4, 2020, according to his obituary. City authorities said he died in a traffic accident.
Recker contracted brain cancer during his assignment abroad, returned home and died in November.
The video watch included comments from Mayor Lenny Curry, whose father served in the Navy, about how deeply rooted the military is in Jacksonville.
“Therefore, Jacksonville understands better than most what it means to serve our nation and its associated victims, not just those who serve but their spouses, children, parents and friends,” he said.
The recorded celebration of Memorial Day was in part due to a wreath-laying ceremony on the wall earlier this month, when Gold Star families could gather in person.
Also that month, an event on May 17 commemorated the 37 shipmates who died in a 1987 attack on the Mayport-based USS Stark in 1987.
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