MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami International Airport has unveiled a touching tribute to South Floridians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, just days before Memorial Day.
A total of 118 South Florida military officers who have given their lives while serving since Sep. 11 2001, are being recognized on the Wall of Honor.
“To call this a celebration is a stretch,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. Gonzales, “but we are celebrating. We’re celebrating life. We’re celebrating sacrifice. We’re celebrating loss, but it’s a celebration which reminds us all of what our country stands for.”
Family and friends of the fallen soldiers joined other members of the military community as well as South Florida officials near the center of the airport for the opening ceremony, Thursday.
“We honor their courage and integrity, and we are inspired by their example.” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. “As a community, we must always remember those who have died in the line of duty.”
The central wall of the three-sided, 51-foot-long monument covered in black marble stone, includes the names of the fallen inscribed into the stone.
Like the Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C., the surface of the wall allows visitors to make paper impressions or rubbings of the name of their family member.
The second wall includes a video tribute featuring photos of some of the fallen soldiers and their families.
“My fervent hope is that this memorial will serve to remind all who view it, that the sacrifices of the few have benefitted the many,” said Tim Bohall, the father of a fallen service member.
On the third side of the wall, the seals of the five U.S. military branches are displayed.
“Hopefully after today, everybody that goes through this airport will be able to see this. Will be able to understand that freedom is not free, and that we have to continue this long war, one that we can’t afford to lose.”
One more name will soon be added to the wall, bringing the total number honorees to 119.
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