Jacksonville is a proud and patriotic city. You could see that reflected in the faces of the thousands of citizens who came downtown to watch the annual July 4th fireworks display.
My family and I enjoyed watching them on the south bank of the St. Johns River that night. As we celebrated, I found myself thinking about the service of my father and grandfathers in the armed forces, and the many men, women and families who have sacrificed by serving in our military.
We would not be the great nation we are today without their contributions. We owe these men and women a debt we can never repay.
The people of Jacksonville understand this better than most. We have a long and rich history of military service on the First Coast. We are home to three major military bases, with active and reserve units. And one in four citizens are directly connected to the military either as active duty, retired, reserve, or immediate family.
That commitment to our military and veterans is regularly demonstrated through the thousands of participants at annual events like the Memorial Day and Purple Heart Day observances, and the Veterans Day Parade. And we show that commitment through important programs and services through our dedicated Military Affairs & Veterans Services Department.
But to further honor this strong connection, I instructed my staff to install flags for the five military branches in an array around our National Colors at the doorstep to City Hall in Hemming Park. I want everyone who works in or visits City Hall to be reminded of the dedication of our Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
This display will add to the many memorials and locations that honor service men and women throughout our city, like the Veterans Memorial Wall and navy memorial statue on the Southbank Riverwalk. Let our military flags fly!