Local media source ignores all the facts provided…deliberately fails to get the truth out. (Red Comments Added)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—It stands silent day after day, yet it speaks volumes about the men and women who served their country. Two decades ago, the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial was built to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. (ultimate sacrifice refers to dying in combat, not all the wall were even in combat or died of combat wounds) There are a lot of names for veterans from quite a few wars, but some feel more could be added.
A group of veterans are now spearheading an effort to add Sergeant Randall Hansen’s name to the wall. “He did two combat tours in Fallujah,” says Fred Blaz. “When he came back from his second tour he succumbed to the invisible wounds of war.”
Blaz said Hansen lost his battle to PTSD: he committed suicide. Blaz, also a marine, is now part of that group trying to get Hansen’s name added to the wall. “It really upsets me that we are failing to recognize his sacrifice,” he says. There’s even an online petition drive for the former Fletcher High student, but getting on the wall is not that easy.
“The Jacksonville memorial wall has a strict criteria (they have disregard by adding individuals not from Jax to the Wall) and it has been in place for twenty plus years,” says Bill Spann. Spann is the director of the city’s Military Affairs Department and he says it is unfortunate, but Hansen does not meet the guidelines.
“We’re extremely sympathetic and give our deepest prayers and sympathies to family of Sgt. Hansen,” he says.
Spann said to be eligible for the memorial wall:
• The veteran must have lived (changed now from Home of Record) in Jacksonville or attended a Duval high school
• Must have served during a war
• Must have died while on active duty
(Email from Bill Spann Explanation #2)
o The original Wall Committee privately funded and constructed the wall in 1995, and then gifted it to the City of Jacksonville with the stipulation that the following criteria be maintained in perpetuity:
Individuals engraved on the Wall must have EITHER
Attended High School in Duval County OR
Have Duval County as their official Home of Record AND
Died while on Active Duty AND
The death occurred during time of war.
(Home of Record is different form State of Legal Residence which they are now claiming was the meaning of Home of Record)
He said these are guidelines developed from the National Veterans Wall.
(Vietnam Veterans Wall Criteria…Names are added when it has been determined that a service member has died directly from combat-related wounds. Cancer victims of Agent Orange, and post traumatic stress suicides do not fit the criteria for inclusion upon the Memorial. (Different from Jacksonville Wall where not all on the wall are combat related and include cancer, heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents, domestic shooting, etc.) NO COMPARISON
“We would like to come to some kind of fair resolution,” says Spann. “Trust me the easiest thing to do is put his name on the wall, but it is not the right thing to do.” (Come to some kind of resolution, but ignores all those seeking a resolution.)
He says that would open a Pandora’s box and the would have to add every other veteran who died from the effects of war after they had separated from their branch of service. (The arbitrary changing of the criteria from Home of Record to lived in Jax opens Pandora’s box since anyone from anywhere on active duty in Jacksonville dying from anything is now eligible. Home of Record is more limiting) If lived in Jax was always the intent as claimed, how did Medal of Honor Recipient and Marine Robert Jenkins from Interlachen get on the Jax Wall? His bio states he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Jacksonville, Florida, but lived in Interlachen….Doesn’t that mean HOME OF RECORD and not lived in Jax?
Even so, Blaz says he and his group are not giving up. He believes veterans who suffer with PTSD are still on the battlefield. “I’d like to keep it going until we get Sergeant Hansen’s name on the wall,” says Blaz.
In 2015, the city added an inscription to the wall. “In memory and honor of those men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States and later died as a result of their service.” (Yes they did after a battle, but subsequent to this they have added folks to the wall who didn’t meet the stipulated criteria from 1995, ergo the request to reconsider Hansen if they are adding individuals who are not from Jax to a Jax Wall)
Spann said his office is very sensitive to the concerns. (if he was REALLY SENSITIVE to the concerns why no meeting with those spearheading the effort, Why no interest in bringing attention to PTSD and the suicides among Veterans?)