By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 12, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – In the shadows of the State Capitol building is a tribute, but it will not last long.
"It's very similar to the Vietnam Wall experience," said Joe West, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America. "The names of thousands of young men and women who never got to enjoy their life or live their life. They gave their lives for their country."
Thousands of names, including two of Tallahassee's own heroes, are engraved on plaques, which honor soldiers and first responders who have been killed in the fight against terrorism. The display includes names from Operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s, and those killed on 9/11 and in the 21st century.
The Patriot Wall was escorted into town by the local Patriot Riders and was set up on Monday afternoon in Waller Park, which is located behind the Capitol building just off of Duval Street.
"I'll be here staying the night to make sure that no one does harm to the their memory," said Mike Grace Monday night.
Grace is a disabled Veteran who planned to spend Monday night outside, sleeping on the concrete to keep an eye on the tribute.
"I'm grateful," he said. "For giving me the opportunity to honor my heroes and serve one more time."
The memorial was brought in from South Florida and is free to the public for viewing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday. A group of volunteers will take it down afterward.