A Hero Indeed- Thanks to all who serve & have served, Also those who Give the ultimate sacrifice for our Country & their Families."Never Forget"
News Source www.news4jax.com
"JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thousands of people lined the streets early Friday -- from NAS Jacksonville to downtown Veterans Memorial Wall and at special places in the life of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher -- as A Navy pilot shot down over Iraq 18 years ago is honored during a motorcade to his final resting place.
Speicher, whose remains returned to Florida Thursday night, was shot down in January 1991 on the first night of the Gulf War.
Led by motorcycle officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, a hearse carrying Speicher's flag-draped coffin left the chapel at NAS Jacksonville just before 9 a.m.
Gov. Charlie Crist, Mayor John Peyton and other dignitaries made remarks as the motorcade slowly made its way to the memorial wall."At a time in our nation's history when we need heroes more than ever, Capt. Speicher reminds us we need not look any farther than those brave Americans who serve in our armed forces. He represents the best of the best," Crist told the crowd. "I am honored to speak for almost 20 million fellow Floridians when I say we thank Capt. Speicher for his commitment and his dedication to our country and our people and our freedom. We are deeply grateful for his sacrifice."
Standing in front of a wall with Speicher’s name etched at the top, Peyton said “On behalf of the citizens of Jacksonville, welcome home Scott.”
"It is fitting that we gather today at this wall ... the largest (veterans) wall outside of Washington, D.C.," Peyton said. "We like the rest of the world spend nearly two decades hoping and praying since that first night of the Gulf War air strikes in 1991. While the circumstance of Scott Speicher being shot down and his passing may never be crystal clear, one can be certain of one thing, that while Capt. Speicher was on this earth, including his time in Iraq, God was his constant companion."After a 21-gun salute, the motorcade headed for Lake Shore Methodist Church, where the Navy pilot taught Sunday school, then to Forrest High School, where he excelled at swimming and tennis.
Capt. Michael Scott Speicher's remains arrived at NAS Jacksonville Thursday afternoon.
The procession also passed Cecil Field Naval Air Station, where he was stationed when his squadron deployed aboard the USS Saratoga to participate in Operation Desert Storm.
Several businesses along the route put messages paying respects to Speicher on their signs. In addition to individuals and families, many organizations, including the Boy Scouts, lined the streets to pay their respects.
Many of the hundreds of people who line the route didn't know Speicher but wanted to recognize his service.
"I'm here to recognize the sacrifice this young Navy officer gave to this country and the pain his family has endured for the last 18 years. I just got back from Iraq four months ago and I just wanted my family to be a part of it," said Chief Warrant Officer Brian Farrell, an instructor pilot with the Florida National Guard, dressed in his Army uniform.
Speicher was then laid to rest in a private ceremony at Jacksonville Memory Gardens.
Following the graveside service, Speicher's squadron, the VFA-81 Sunliners, was to fly over in a missing-man formation.
The governor has directed that all state and national flags in Duval County and in front of the state Capitol be flown at half-staff on Friday in honor of Speicher."