In the days leading up to and following the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 29th, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida and the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts pay tribute to the nation’s veterans with a circular lobby display at the Dade County Courthouse featuring poster-sized photographs of fallen U.S. soldiers, photos of their surviving family members, and enlargements of the last letters they wrote home before losing their lives in battle.
The photographs and poignant letters filled with pride, hope and love, some of which instruct family members to “read only if I don’t return,” were taken from Last Letters Home, a book published by LIFE, and enlarged for display. The wooden display arches, flags and memorial wreaths are donated by the North Miami Knights of Columbus.
The two week-long display kicked off with a Memorial Day tribute in the lobby of the Dade County Courthouse on Tuesday, May 23rd, in conjunction with members of the U.S. Marine Corps and court and clerk's office veterans such as the Honorable Peter Lopez, Circuit Civil Court Judge; Mark Martinez, Senior Deputy Clerk, Civil Division, and Kevin Seifried, Clerk's Civil Division Supervisor. Patriotic songs were performed by Walter Cordle, also a veteran and retired Process Server Coordinator for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. The lobby display will remain at the Dade County Courthouse until Friday, June 2nd.
The memorial is a joint project of Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin and the Honorable Bertila Soto, Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and is coordinated each year by the North Miami Knights of Columbus, who have been organizing this observance since 1997.