Charles Brown stood quietly, gazing for a long time at the etched list of names on the glossy black surface. He brushed away tears more than once.
“Right now, I’m looking for Jack Driscoll and Reginald Bird,” said the Army veteran of the Vietnam War, and Vero Beach resident April 10.
“But every single one of these people are my buddies,” he said. “Every single one.”
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, presented at Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter campus April 8-13, gave hundreds of Vietnam veterans, family and friends a chance to reconnect with loved ones who lost their lives in the war. The Wall was one of the highlights of the six-day tribute in Jupiter.
Also on display was the Florida “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit, containing photos and other memorabilia paying tribute to all Florida service members who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan following Sept. 11, 2001.
At FAU’s Abacoa Town Center, the April 11 opening ceremony had Alan Gerstel, former television news anchor, as master of ceremonies.
Color Guards were provided by several veterans’ organizations, as well as a Marine Corps detachment, Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue.
For Veteran Voice
The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs wants the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home to look like the Treasure Coast, not like … well, like the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Construction on the new facility in Tradition should start late this year or early next year and take about two years to complete.
“We have found with our residents, especially those involved in memory care such as Alzheimer’s, if they are surrounded with sights and sounds that are familiar to them, it makes it a more hospitable environment,” Steve Murray, communications director at the state veterans department, said.
On April 8, the department visited Tradition to show the community the evolving design. Wayne Teegardin, St. Lucie County’s veterans services manager, said the design the department showed at a public meeting attended by about 40 is built around a homey feel.
“They’re creating small enclaves of people, so it doesn’t feel like an institution with long hallways,” Teegardin said.
20 to 128 residents in single-occupancy rooms set up in four clusters. The clusters join to a center complex in the middle. Each of the clusters has dens, too.
“They’re clustered in small groups with eating close by, with recreation close by,” Murray said. He added, “If they want to share in larger things, there’s the commons areas.”