Loved ones lay wreaths in honor of deceased heroes at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The City of Jacksonville Department of Military and Veterans Affairs invited the public to lay wreaths at the Veterans Memorial Wall on Saturday in honor of the deceased heroes of Jacksonville.
The event did not take place last year due to the pandemic.
The site just outside TIAA Bank Field is the second largest Veterans Memorial Wall in the country with more than 1,700 names of men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Two names were added this year.
The wreath laying ceremony was especially special for the family of George Woods, who said he would have been 71 on Saturday had he not died serving his country.
His wife, Jacquelyn Woods, said it was emotional to be at the ceremony on Saturday.
“It’s like trying not to cry, because you think about the way he went and I had just talked to him two days before he passed away, and being home with two little boys and a baby was tough,” Woods said. “He was an injection seat canopy specialist for the Marine Corps and a Navy P3 attempted to make an emergency landing, but hit the hangar and detonated it.
Woods said George was in the shed working the night shift after trading with someone so they could be with their family.
The Woods’ youngest son, Kevin, was just 17 months old when his father was killed while serving in the Philippines on April 15, 1975.
“Growing up, I never knew him, I just knew pictures of him,” said Kevin Woods.
He eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the US Marine Corps. He said it brought him closer to his father.
Jacquelyn Woods said during her last conversation with her husband that he asked how their sons are doing and said he would call back this weekend.
“That weekend call never came,” she says. “Only the agents showed up at the door.
This visit by the Marine Corps to inform her of her husband’s death is a story that many families who laid wreaths on Saturday could also tell.
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Linnington, CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project, said it was an honor to serve those who serve our country – and their families.
“Every day for me is Veterans Day or Remembrance Day,” he said.
The city of Jacksonville’s Memorial Day celebration will air on Memorial Day at 8 a.m. on the city’s website and on the YouTube channel. The department director said he hopes next year’s celebration will take place in person.
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