Published on : Monday, May 30, 2016
In advance of Memorial Day, Miami International Airport today unveiled its Wall of Honor memorial – a 51-foot-long monument covered in black granite stone that lists the names of 118 military service men and women from South Florida who have given their lives while serving in any overseas contingency mission or declared theater of operations in the global war on terrorism since September 11, 2001. More than 100 family members and friends of the fallen service members, representatives from the South Florida military community, and MIA and Miami-Dade County officials were on hand for the opening ceremony.
The central wall of the monument, located in MIA’s Concourse D on the departures level, includes the names of the fallen inscribed into the stone. Like the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., the surface of the wall also provides a reflection of the viewer, connecting them with the inscribed names. Additionally, the wall’s inscriptions allow visitors to make paper impressions or rubbings of their family member’s name. The second wall includes an ongoing film project featuring photos of fallen service members and their families as they gather to honor their lost loved ones. The third wall displays the seals of the five U.S. military branches.
The dedication ceremony included remarks by Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González, Miami-Dade County Commissioner and Military Affairs Board Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz, U.S. Southern Command Lieutenant General Joseph P. DiSalvo; and Tim Bohall, the father of U.S. Army Sergeant Thomas Bohall, who died while serving in Afghanistan on May 26, 2011 – five years to the day of Thursday’s ceremony. County commissioners Javier Souto, Xavier Suárez and Daniella Levine Cava were also in attendance.
“Our way of life – and air travel in particular – was changed forever by the events of 9/11, so this is our way of saying thank you to the local men and women who have died while protecting our nation,” said Director González. As we approach Memorial Day, it is our hope that this monument also expresses our appreciation to the family members they have left behind, and to those who continue to serve our country.”
The MIA Wall of Honor lists any military service member from South Florida who has died in the following declared theater of operations in the global war on terrorism since September 11, 2001: Operation Enduring Freedom, October 7, 2001 – current (Afghanistan, Philippines, Horn of Africa, Trans Sahara, Kyrgyzstan, Caribbean, Central America, Georgia, Somalia, and Pakistan); Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 19, 2003 – August 31, 2010 (Iraq); Operation New Dawn, September 1, 2010 – December 31, 2011 (Iraq); and Operation Inherent Resolve, June 15, 2014 – current (Iraq and Syria, in the fight against ISIS).
South Florida is the area defined by US SOUTHCOM’s Survivor Assistance Area of Responsibility, which includes nine Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Hendry, Lee, Glades, and Collier.