In our ever-expanding efforts to find interesting things in our very own home city, Kay planned what should have been a very enlightening couple of visits for today. Since I had no idea where we were going, all I had to do was watch and wait.
But the drastic shortening of our outing happened right smack at the beginning. When Kay tried to turn into the parking lot of our Jacksonville Fire Museum, we found our way barred. There was a big sign on the gate shouting in large red letters "CLOSED." Further investigation revealed that the museum is closed for renovations but will reopen in the spring of 2017. We were both disappointed since there should have been some very interesting exhibits and information about the Great Fire of 1901 which consumed much of the city.
Oh well, no use spending our time fussing about the closure. Besides, Kay had another site in her sights: Jacksonville's own version of Maya Lin's dramatic black marble wall in the Washington Mall commemorating the fallen during the Vietnam conflict.
Set in a plaza on the west side of the Jaguar's home stadium (EverBank Field) is a continuous black marble wall ennobled with the names of all the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guardsmen from Duval County during World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the First Gulf War. In addition to the stark listing of these names there is a pedestal listing all the places where the dead fell in battle.
It was quite sobering to see how many people had given "the last full measure of devotion to their country" from this northeast corner of Florida. Of course, World War II took the most lives and that it was indeed a world war could be proved by reading the names of all the many places around the entire globe where our soldiers fought and died.
We are proud that Jacksonville has chosen this dramatic way to memorialize our armed forces members who have been involved in all these wars yet did not return home afterwards.