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About the Memorial

In 2000 Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter was the guest speaker at a ceremony held at Serenity Gardens on Memorial Day. At the end of the ceremony Commissioner Salter noticed that the veterans that had attended were having trouble moving though the cemetery because it is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible. He felt that even though our area has a huge military population, Santa Rosa County didn’t have a memorial dedicated to the men and women of our armed services.

Commissioner Salter approached the Santa Rosa Counties Veterans Advisory Council with the idea. Ralph Nesenson was the chairperson of the Council at that time. The Council thought it was a great idea and they started to research the project. To be able to raise funds for the Memorial a foundation required. The Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce offered the use of the SRCC Foundation. The other four chambers in the community also pledged their support.

The next task for the group was to come up with a design for the Memorial. It took them a full year to come up with a design. However, they still were not satisfied. Giles Yokel, and Mike Broussard of Hatch Mott MacDonald came in and provided several schemes for the Memorial, one of which the Committee decided to use. The group then brought in Andy Dewitt from the Art Council and Sam Nettles a local sculptor, to look at the design. They helped finalized the design for Memorial. 

Next the group needed a location for the new Memorial plaza. Santa Rosa County donated land on Willing Street near the Riverwalk in Milton. The team and the community had all the necessities to move forward and construction started in February 2004.

Veteran's Memorial Committee

Don Salter Chairman   Don Chinery Public Relations
Ralph Nesenson Office Manager/Coordinator Bert Craig SRC Veteran's Advisory Committee
Barb Turner Marketing Chairperson Carl Craig SRC Veteran's Advisory Committee
Donna Tucker Treasurer Margaret Porter Pace Rotary Club
Lydia McConnell Committee Assistant Ed Silva SRC Veteran's Advisory Committee
Beverly Hutching Committee Assistant Beth Siyufy Pace Rotary Club
Robert Asmus NAS Giles Yokel Hatch Mott MacDonald
Mike Broussard Hatch Mott MacDonald Sam Nettles Sculptor
Ed Campbell SRC Veteran's Advisory Committee Harriet Tuck I-Group, Inc.
  Lee Tuck I-Group, Inc.


The Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Plaza will be 8000 square feet. The Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial will be a unique plaza because all of the services will be represented in one park. Financial requirements for this project are estimated at $750,000+, which includes lighting, landscaping, sound and funding for perpetual maintenance.

Statues, Panels & Structures:

The Warrior – Will be a bronze statue that is approximately 7 feet tall on a 30-inch pedestal, placed in the center of the plaza. He will be leaning on his weapon as though he has come out of battle. He has lost some of his fellow soldiers. His face expresses the agony of war. In his left hand he is holding dog tags that he has taken from one of his fallen buddy’s neck. The Warrior is reflecting on his loss. On The Warrior’s base the inscription reads: “Fallen, Never Forgotten”.

The Defending Eagle – Will be a bronze statue placed at the entrance of the park. The Defending Eagle has an approximate 12-foot wingspan. The American Bald Eagle is probably the single most recognized symbol of freedom. The Eagle is in a stance of defense, claws dug in, wings out and upward and the head will be tilted at an angle listening for danger. He is ready to defend. On the base of the Eagle is inscribed, “Freedom”.

Service Panels – The panels will be made of smooth polished black granite that are 11 feet tall and 5 1/2 feet wide. There will be five panels representing each service - Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and the Air Force. Mounted on each panel will be a bais relief that represents a 3D timeline of the equipment, weapons and people of that branch of the service. Starting around the Revolutionary War though today.

Timeline Panels – There will be sixteen panels 3 feet tall and 14 feet wide made of smooth black granite. Eleven of the panels will contain a history about a War or a conflict on American soil or abroad. The first panel will start with The War of Independence and go though Iraqi Freedom. It will have dates of major battles. Also, there will be information about the country during that time period such as population, the President and other significant data.

Tomb of the Unknown Solider- Will be made of white marble and placed on one of the black granite history panels. It will represent all of the soldiers that have gone to foreign soils, given their lives and they never came home.

Merchant Marines Monument – There will be a monument that recognizes the service and sacrifice by the Merchant Marines who served with honor during World War II.

Flags – There will be three flags flying over the Memorial. The tallest will be the American Flag. There will also be the State of Florida Flag and the POW MIA Flag.

Bricks – There will be 8,000 bricks on the walk of honor. They will contain the name, rank, and years of service of a service member or Veteran. There are also bricks surrounding the plaza available for sponsorship.

War Dog - From the time of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to today’s soldiers, man’s best friend has loyally followed his owner into battle as a well-trained War Dog. From the birth of the United States, dogs have followed American soldiers into war demonstrating great bravery on the front lines, heroically saving lives under fire, and comforting the sick and wounded.


Purple Heart Monument
General George Washington created the Purple Heart, America’s oldest Military decoration, in 1782.   At that time he named it the Badge of Military Merit.  On August 7, 1782, Washington decreed that whenever any individually meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear, over his left breast, a heart in purple cloth.  Today, the prestigious Purple Heart award is among the most recognized of all American Decorations and medals.  This is due partly to its beautiful design, its unique history and because of the physical pain and suffering which one must endure, or the ultimate sacrifice of the individual to whom the purple heart is awarded.  The Purple Heart Monument is dedicated to all recipients of the Nation’s oldest military decoration, “The Purple Heart”.  This Monument was dedicated in November of 2006 during the Veterans Day Ceremony that took place at the Veterans Memorial Plaza.



Wall of Tears Monument
The Wall of Tears is the newest addition to the Veterans Memorial Plaza in downtown Milton.  The red granite monument honors all lives lost in conflicts.  The monument stands 5 feet tall and more than 3 feet wide.  There are six porcelain painted tiles of an eagle perched on a Liberty Bell monument that are affixed to the monument.  On either side of the eagle an American flag and a prisoner-of-war, missing-in-action flag are raised.  A reservoir drips tear-like droplets of water from the top of the monument over the painting.  Below the painting, the inscription, “Tears of a grateful nation for those who gave all” honors soldier’s lives.