Parking spot to honor Cape Coral Purple Heart veterans

Author: Camila Pereira Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

The city of Cape Coral is honoring Purple Heart veterans.

They dedicated a parking space at city hall specifically for service members who were wounded in combat while serving in the U.S. military and who received the Purple Heart.

The city wants to recognize the sacrifices of these heroes. Purple Heart recipients Jack Wagner and Dan Bernard remember all too well what it was like when they got their Purple Hearts.

Both men were in Vietnam.

“I laid in the trench for 28 hours over a graveyard before I was evacuated,” Wagner said. “All I wanted at the time was my mom.”

Bernard received his Purple Heart in an unexpected place.

“I received mine in the hospital,” Bernard said. “I woke up with a Purple Heart on my pillow, so nobody ever presented it to me. I woke up, and there it was, but I sure appreciate it.”

When the city of Cape Coral announced it would dedicate one of its city hall parking spots to Purple Heart recipients, Wagner and Bernard appreciated the gesture.

“The Purple Heart is very prestigious to all of us, and we can’t thank Cape Coral enough,” Bernard said.

Wednesday’s ceremony featured U.S. flags, banners blowing in the wind and a purple parking space shining under the sun.

Michael Ilczyszyn, Cape’s interim city manager, said the single space is meant to honor those who served, were wounded and came home, as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“This dedication of the parking space in city hall will serve as a reminder to our community that in those times of need we have residents in our community that served us and have been awarded the Purple Heart,” Ilczyszyn said.

As Purple Heart recipients arrived for the city’s Purple Heart recognition, some of them made sure to park in the space.

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