Lest-We-Forget: The private sector concept of the Parade of Flags came to Clay County in 1997 from Johna Hayes, Jr. (Vietnam Vet / local business owner). The original plan was that each year - weeks prior Memorial Day - Green Cove Springs would line the streets with Flags mounted on a white cross bearing the name of local Fallen Warrior (military casualties - KIA/MIA). However, the display was only approved for Spring Park - creating the annual Parade of Flags from mid May to early June. Various ideas and suggestions were made to have a permanent Veterans monument at the west end of Spring Park - nothing materialized. For the first 16 years the display did not travel - only viewed by a limited number of people.
Art Yeaman, Heritage Guides founder/director and Gary Newman connected that year. The "traveling" aspect of our Parade of Flags was created. People all around Clay County started to gain a greater understanding and perspective of our local Fallen Warriors who paid the ultimate.
During 2014 the Clay County Traveling Parade of Flags was on display at ten separate locations (more than 120 days) seen by thousands of people. We partnered with the Clay County Archives to initiate greater recognition of their work and the community educational value of the Clay County Historical Triangle aka Veterans Triangle. Our mutual efforts were coupled with the Military Museum of North Florida, and the Garden Club of Green Cove Springs.
During the late winter and early spring of 2015 Gary Newman re-ignited a former thought each of them had. Let's create a permanent more inclusive and conclusive Fallen Warriors Monument. We invited John Bowles (Clay County Historical Society), Deb Mueller (Teen Court), and Gayward Hendry (Marine Corps League) to join our efforts. From that core group we built d a team that included other organizations and individuals.
LOCATION: Clay County Historical Triangle (aka "Veterans Triangle", 915 Walnut St. Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. Therefore, on July 7, 2015 we submitted a letter of intent the Clay County manager requesting approval. On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 we presented the project to the Clay County Board of Commissioners and received immediate, unanimous, approval.
We are NOT requesting taxpayers funds to erect the monument.
We fully intend to fund the creation and maintenance of the actual monument via the private sector by way of Donations and a
Brick-Adoption Program and community service projects.
Our Fallen Warriors answered the call to duty, they made the ultimate sacrifice - they paid the price for our liberty and freedom. It is now time for us to pay the price - Lest-We-Forget!
During 2013 the Traveling Vietnam Memorial WALL visited Clay County. Also that year we invited the Vietnam Veterans of America, Clay County Chapter #1059 (VVACC) to partner with us help sustain the honor and tribute for our local Fallen Warriors.
Gary Newman, VVACC president said
Never again will one generation of Veterans forget another generation of Veterans - Welcome Home!
Why this monument?
Let me describe the symbolism of this particular sculpture. Perhaps that will explain why the design was chosen.
The monument it self will sit on a 5' square black marble base. The names of our Clay County fallen warriors, by each war will be inscribed on the sides of the base. Room will be left for future Clay Countians should they also fall in battle.
The three rifles sit on a triangle shaped piece of white marble, which represents the folded flag which is presented by a military official to the closest surviving family member. In the center of the white marble is a Bugle that represents the Civil war era. You will notice that the barrels of each rifle faces down which represents those who have fallen in battle. There are three rifles : a Springfield rifle which is the type used during World War I, a M-1 rifle which is the type used during World War !! and the Korean War, and a M-16 rifle which is the type used during the Vietnam war and all other wars and conflicts up to the present.
A helmet rests upon the three rifles as a symbol of forever protecting our fallen heroes.
This memorial will be the only one of its design and symbolism in Clay County. It will be located in a place of solitude where all can come and reflect in peace.
Gary Newman, Committee Chairman
CLAY COUNTY FALLEN WARRIORS MONUMENT PROJECT
The TAPS team meets each month. The default meeting date and time is the first Tuesday of the month at 2pm - Teen Court (915 Walnut St. GCS).
Your Key to Applied Heritage:
Showcasing our Clay County, our St Johns River, our Florida, and our American Heritage --- One-Tribute-At-A-Time
CLAY COUNTY FALLEN WARRIORS MONUMENT and BRICK ADOPTION PROJECT
CLAY COUNTY FALLEN WARRIORS MONUMENT PROJECT
Thank you to the groups and individuals who have have supported this project: by way of phone calls, sent messages, and/or written a letter of support.
Gary Newman, President
Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #1059.
P.O. Box 626 Orange Park, FL 32067-0626
QUESTIONS OR TO GET INVOLVED:
CHAIR Gary Newman - Vietnam Veterans of America - 904-598-4311
John Bowles - Clay County Historical Society - 904-525-9744
Art Yeaman - Heritage Guides - 904-449-4607
Deb Mueller - Teen Court - 904-284-6302
Gayward Hendry - Marine Corps League - 904-673-8892