The outdoor memorial was promoted as the largest of its kind and the only wall that honors veterans from all service branches (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine). The beautiful, 65 foot-long black granite monument contains the names of servicemen and women from World War I through Operation Desert Storm and the current war on terrorism. In front of the wall stands a torch whose eternal flame burns in "proud remembrance and humble tribute".
The Wall is the site of the city's Memorial Day ceremony, when any local servicewoman and serviceman who lost their lives in the prior year are honored and their names added to the obelisque.
Every Memorial Day since the monument was completed, a group of family, friends and classmates of Navy pilot Scott Speicher gather at the wall to remind themselves and anyone who will listen that he has not, and will not, be forgotten. Speicher, who grew up in Jacksonville, was shot down on the first night of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. His whereabouts, dead or alive, have never been discovered.
When the Wall was built, it was located just eight feet from the exterior wall of the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and extraordinary measures were taken to protect it when the Coliseum was demolished in 2003. When all of the debris was removed and the site restored to grade, the Memorial was surrounded by a two-acre walking park.
Photographs by Ennis Davis