Jacksonville honors patriots, fallen heroes

Jacksonville honors patriots, fallen heroes
Dr. Helmut Makosch with Dr. Lewis Obi, Lt. General Thomas McInerney, USAF, Ret., Padraic Mulvihill and Roger Wilson at the VIP reception.

The attack on the consulate in Benghazi was a tragedy for Americans, from service members to the staff of the State Department and others serving abroad. It was an unnecessary loss of life, compounded by a lack of response for support for those serving on foreign soil. The lives of four people were lost on a tragic day that is overshadowed by annual mourning over Sept. 11, 2001, yet the attack came on the anniversary, 11 years to the day, of one of our nation’s darkest days.

In honor of the fallen, one group of local volunteers organized a gathering for those who gave their last, full measure on Sept. 11, 2012. With an attendance of several hundred guests, the ceremony drew Northeast Florida residents to hear distinguished guest panelists, including Lt. General Thomas McInerney, USAF, Ret., Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer and advisor on Middle Eastern strategic policy and national security, and Charles Woods, a former attorney and retired administrative law judge and father to former U.S, Navy Veteran and SEAL Tyrone Woods.

The ceremony, complete with presentation of colors by Sandalwood Air Force JROTC Color Guard, was followed by the bagpiping of Highland Cathedral by Pipe Sgt. Ron McDonald of the JFRD (Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department). The national anthem was sung by Lifesong, Trinity Baptist College Chorus and a formal presentation of four wreaths were laid to the tune Going Home, piped by Sgt. McDonald, who exited playing Amazing Grace.

The event took place at the Times-Union Center for Performing Arts Sept. 10 and presented the opportunity for attendees to interact with special guests at a VIP reception prior to the ceremony. The Benghazi tribute in Jacksonville was the only formal event held across our nation to pay tribute to those lost on that tragic day in Libya.

The lives of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, U.S. Navy Veteran SEAL Glen Doherty, U.S. Navy Veteran SEAL Tyrone Woods and U.S. Navy Veteran Information Officer Sean Smith were all lost to the conflict. Our government failed to send backup and provide support to those killed in an ambush on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

The event was organized by Turning Points in America, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to provide education about events that are turning points in the history of our country and to provide services to those involved or affected by such turning points. Visit www.turningpointsinamerica.org to learn more about how you can serve a servicemember.

By Seth Williams
Resident Community News

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