New bronze monument linked to local military loss

In a monument that on Memorial Day will take its place at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, a bronze relief of soldiers gather around a coffin to mourn the death of one of their own, a powerful depiction of the raw sorrow of a life lost too soon.

The bronze is based on an oil painting by Jeanne Weaver, who created the painting from a photograph taken the day after her son, Lt. Todd Weaver, was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan. He was 26.

The monument at the cemetery was spearheaded by Weaver and her husband, retired foreign service officer Donn Weaver, who both envisioned the idea for a monument at the National Cemetery during a visit a year ago. Their son is buried at Arlington with his fellow servicemen, but the Weavers wanted to recognize with the Brevard County monument all the heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The monument is being created in Florida by American Bronze of Sanford, together with Rudyz Granite and CSpray Engraving, both in Brevard.

“It is not about Todd, but rather to honor all the fallen in all the wars,” Donn Weaver said.

Installing a new monument in a national cemetery is not an easy task. It took the Weavers eight months to finally receive the necessary approvals from the Department of Veterans Affairs and cemetery administration. Then the fundraising started in earnest to cover the $18,500 the monument would cost to make. This phase might go a lot quicker, given initial response.

“We already raised $6,000 in four days,” Weaver said.

A major donor who gave $1,500 was Todd Weaver’s high school guidance counselor.

The Weavers hope to unveil the monument, depending on the pandemic, during the annual Memorial Day services at the cemetery. The monument will take a place of honor by the tree-shaded Memorial Path, which invites quiet reflection near the Columbarium and Wall of Honor. “Monument to the Fallen” will be the fifth monument at the Brevard cemetery.

The 318-acre Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Mims serves veterans in five Central Florida counties. The cemetery was designed to be the final resting place for more than 163,000 veterans in the next century.

To contribute to “Monument to the Fallen,” send donations to Support Committee at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery Inc., P.O. Box 554, Mims, FL 32754. All contributions are tax-deductible.