Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Tribute to Veterans from Jacksonville

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Tribute to Veterans from Jacksonville

Article excerpt

Motorcycle gangs have come to pay tribute. A Gator fan came to

lay a wreath on behalf of all University of Florida graduates.

Young children have come to find the name of a grandfather they

never knew.

Visitors stand two and three deep scanning the names on

Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Wall before concerts, Jaguars

games and other entertainment events.

"I've been there many times, and I don't think I've ever been

when I didn't see somebody standing by the wall," said

Councilman Max Leggett, the primary sponsor of legislation that

set up a trust fund to build the memorial.

Visitors stroke the glossy black granite engraved with about

1,600 names of Jacksonville residents killed from World War I to

the Persian Gulf War. Some, with tears coursing down their

cheeks, leave American flags, red roses, pictures, letters,

poems, wreaths and even such items as a toothbrush and baseball.

Martha O'Steen has been to the wall many times. She was there

last fall during its construction outside the Coliseum facing

Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. She will be there today on the

first-year anniversary. She brings out-oftown relatives and

friends to visit.

It's a chance to reflect on memories of her son, Chuck O'Steen,

who was killed in Vietnam in 1969, only days before he was to

return home.

Chuck O'Steen had attended Georgia Tech for three years,

transferred to the University of Florida for a quarter and was

in the midst of reenrolling at Tech when he was drafted.

After serving two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 15th

Engineer Battalion, he had received his discharge orders.

O'Steen was on her way to Atlanta to make arrangements for him

to re-enter Tech when she learned that his helicopter had been

shot down. …

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