This year this organization has elected to erect a monument to honor the fallen military heroes of Jacksonville, Florida. Some demographics of this large city are its’ multigenerational and diverse ethnic population, varied socioeconomic span, and of course, the large military representation, both active duty, retired, veterans, and their families. The location of Jacksonville in northeast Florida is a great stopover spot for tourists making their way to Orlando or Tampa and the snowbirds on their journey to southern Florida for the winter. The location of the monument should be centralized and near a major highway, possibly Interstate 95 between Interstate 10 and Interstate 295 South. Jacksonville, Florida is a military town and rich in its military history. According to United States Census Bureau QuickFacts (Jacksonville, 2008-2012) approximately 81,000 veterans live here. This number represents 10.5% of the total Jacksonville population.
When including Orange Park and Jacksonville Beach to these numbers the veterans’ total number increases to nearly 85,000. This number is not reflective of the family members surrounding the veterans. The QuickFacts sheet goes on to state that the average household in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, and Orange Park, is approximately 2.50 persons. The number of individuals living in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area directly related to the military member adds another 127,500 people for a total of 170,000 (QuickFacts Orange Park, QuickFacts Jacksonville Beach & QuickFacts Jacksonville, 2008-2012).
We will want to choose a central location for the monument as Jacksonville, Florida has the greatest land mass in the continental United States with 885 square miles (Insider’s Guide to Jacksonville, Florida, 2014). By centralizing the location we can attract as many of Jacksonville’s residents to visit the monument. We must also take into consideration the ease of access to the monument for out of state visitors. If the location is too complicated to get to many people will not visit the site.
The monument site will also have a visitor/gift shop with smaller images of the Fallen Heroes Monument for sale, along with military memorabilia of the two naval military installations, Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport, and Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island Command along with military collectables. The various National Guards outfits along with the Coast Guard will be represented as well. The gift store will be maintain and staffed by Naval Air Station Jacksonville and proceeds will help with the upkeep of the monument. We will build the store as part of the monument site. The City of Jacksonville has donated the land in the name of the local fallen heroes. The project hopes to capture national attention with its innovative design and availability of military collectables. We want not just the Jacksonville, Florida residents to take pride in this monument but the State of Florida and our nation.
Fundraising will be accomplished by reaching out to local military and veteran organizations. The Veterans of Foreign War, American Legion, Student Veterans of America, and American Veterans are all onboard to help with fundraising events like car washes, cook-outs, and large yard sales. We have also partnered with the local motorcycle clubs in Jacksonville, Florida who have scheduled several Saturday rides throughout the state. Historically the bikers clubs have donated large sums of money to events such as ours. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Jacksonville Fire Department are also collecting donations to help defray the total cost of the monument. Naval Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville will have golf tournaments to support the building of the monument. Grants from the City of Jacksonville and from the State of Florida have been pledged. There will be a website featuring the future monument and donations can be accepted there as well.
Military personnel come from all ages, racial ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, and religious backgrounds; it is a fair assessment to predict that the visitors to the monument will be of the same diversity. The marketing direction will be of one from pride in our nations’ military men and women, the good work they do the world over, and the sacrifices they have given. The local community is fully committed to the project and is evident by the large number of private contributors.
Insider’s Guide to Jacksonville, Florida. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.insideflorida.com/city/info/Jacksonville QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. (2008-2012). Florida. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12000.html QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. (2008-2012). Jacksonville, Florida. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1235000.html QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. (2008-2012). Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1235050.html QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. (2008-2012). Orange Park, Florida. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1252125.html