SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After taking nearly two years to build, a Navy SEAL monument now stands at the Miramar National Cemetery, honoring the elite members of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams or UDT’s who fought in World War II.
"This honors those that made the ultimate sacrifice and didn't get to come back and enjoy the freedoms we all fought for," Retired Navy Seal Michael Meoli said.
The monument was unveiled during a ceremony Friday at Miramar's Memorial Walkway. Remarks were made by Ret. Navy Chaplain Rev. Michael Shockley; SEAL Capt. Todd Perry, commanding officer of the Center for SEAL and SWCC; Ret. SEAL Warrant Officer Lance Cummings; Cemetery Director Greta Hamilton; and other community dignitaries to honor WWII Navy SEALs.
The ceremony also included a missing man flyover by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, the "Blackjacks," based out of Naval Air Station North Island.
The memorial was funded by the Navy Seal Museum and the idea was brought to life by Meoli, who served as a project manager. He said this is more than a reflection of the past.
"We come from a very small group. We have 2,600 now. But back in Vietnam, we only had 350 SEALS serving at any given time. And we lost 100 of them there," said Meoli.
Meoli added that the monument also highlights the sacrifice service members make, something that was brought to light earlier this week in Afghanistan.
"It’s a solemn day, after another loss that we weren’t expecting in Afghanistan," he said.