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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An emotional wreath ceremony took place on Friday morning in downtown Jacksonville.

The Hyatt Regency has been hosting the national convention of the Vietnam Veterans of America this week.

It is the first time the convention has even been held in Florida.

As part of the festivities, veterans and supporters gathered on the river walk in front of the hotel at 7 a.m. Friday.

Many of them wore red, white or blue and held American flags or other patriotic items.

They also sang "Amazing Grace" and held a moment of silence before a flowered wreath was thrown into the St. Johns River.

Members of the local honor guard preceded the wreath as it was walked to the waterfront.

The ceremony was meant to memorialize the lives of all POW/MIA soldiers who fought in or gave their life during Vietnam.

Bill Byrns of Orange Park survived 10 months as a prisoner of war and said it was his faith in God that helped him and his family survive.

"We were trained well by the military to do this, be a POW. But it's our faith in the Lord that got us through it. Cause you got the spiritual man, physical man and the mental. The military trains you mentally and physically," he said.

The convention wraps up Saturday.

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