JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's more than just barbeques and a day off. On Monday, the nation will pause and remember the fallen on Memorial Day.
There will be multiple Memorial Day ceremonies in Jacksonville and that includes an extension of a nationwide commemoration called The Honor Project that will take place at Jacksonville National Cemetery.
At his home in St. Johns County, Dewayne Blackmon lays out Flags of Valor tokens with great precision. That type of detail is expected from a man who spent 28 years between the Marines and Army. In fact, military service in his family goes back generations.
"My great-grandfather served in the Army, my grandfather served in the Army in World War 2," said Blackmon as he pointed to a wall filled with pictures of family members in military uniforms.
On the morning of Memorial Day, Blackmon and many other volunteers through Wounded Warrior Project and Travis Manion Foundation will place Flags of Valor tokens at the gravesites of fallen service members. This is The Honor Project and it will occur at 14 different sites across the country, including Jacksonville National Cemetery.
"It's about remembrance and understanding," said Blackmon, "this was someone who gave their life and served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice. I think about all of the amazing service members I served with and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life and our families."
Blackmon has an office full of memorabilia from his time in the military including a Purple Heart that he was awarded after surviving an attack from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2007. Blackmon has five children, some now in the military themselves, and was mere feet from possibly being killed and becoming the recipient of a Flag of Valor token through The Honor Project.
"I got blasted, thrown out the way," recalled Blackmon about the suicide bombing, "I don't remember most of what happened, I remember blacking out, coming through, it really hit our platoon in a big way."
Blackmon survived his injuries that day, others weren't as fortunate. So on Memorial Day he invites others to stand with him by signing up to volunteer for The Honor Project and remember service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about The Honor Project, visit this website.
For more information about Wounded Warrior Project and the programs they offer, visit their website here.