FORT MYERS — This Memorial Day, the Fort Myers community has a new way to remember their veterans.
The Wall of Heroes at the Edison Mall will now serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice many people right here in Southwest Florida made for their country.
We spoke with a man named Harvey Charter who told us he plans to feature his father there, who was a World War II veteran. Charter said that’s who was on his mind Monday at the American Legion’s Memorial Day service, right in the center of the mall.
Charter's late father, David Charter, was a ball-turret gunner on a B-17.
"He was shot down, crash-landed on the good side of the border with the French, and he just was a terrific guy," said Charter, who is also the Commander of Jewish War Veterans Post 400.
For that service, Charter’s father was awarded the French Legion of Honor, but Charter said he didn’t know just how brave he was until recently.
"Never knew what he did, he would never talk about it, but he finally gave an interview to my son when he was in high school, and I was shocked to hear what this poor guy went through," said Charter.
“We should give thanks to God that such men lived," said Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson during the service.
Anderson, Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli, and Congressman Byron Donalds offered their appreciation for all of the men and women like Charter’s father. American Legion Post 38 Commander Kevin Boyd said the idea behind the Wall of Heroes is to make sure that respect lasts long after Memorial Day.
"It means a lot to the community if they can put pictures of their loved ones up, and come in the mall and walk and see them," said Boyd.
The ceremony ended with a playing of Taps, and soldiers standing at attention, every one of them with a veteran like David Charter on their minds.
"He’s the man I salute today," said Charter.
Henry Charter was also a veteran himself, serving in the Army during the Vietnam War.
The mall tells us anyone can post pictures of loved ones on the Wall of Heroes, along with a short biography, and they’ll stay up for one month until they can rotate in a new group of veterans.