Dave Huddleston reports…
RIVERSIDE, NJ (CBS) — Friday is Veterans Day, and a Riverside, NJ man decided to create a memorial that goes beyond the usual commemoration.
Sean McColgan served in the U.S. Navy. He knows many people remember the heroes of Afghanistan and Iraq, but Sean made a special place in his heart and his home for less well-known heroes.
“I did this because I want people to remember,” said Sean McColgan.
So he put a memorial right on his own lawn, a small tribute to the American military personnel who died in Somalia from 1992 to 1995. Many of them were killed in the first Battle for Mogadishu, made famous by the book Black Hawk Down.
“They weren’t drafted. They went in on their own—sent over to a foreign land, served their country, and they didn’t come home,” said McColgan.
He built each white cross himself over the course of a month.
“I did it after work. Weekends, I painted it and let it dry. I printed out the names off the computer.”
He included signs about other wars, from Korea and Vietnam to the Bosnian conflict, and a sign honoring all those who served.
“He did a lot of work on it. He spent a lot of his time in the summertime doing it when I was at work and with the kids,” said Sean’s wife, Jennifer McColgan. “He did a great job.”
“I did it because I’m honoring those who served like I did,” said McColgan.
He enlisted in the Navy as a teenager and served off the coast of Somalia in the 1990s. While he didn’t know anyone who died, he wants the families of those who did to know they’re not forgotten.
“People honk their horns. They stop by and take pictures,” said McColgan.
The display will be up through Veterans Day as a reminder for those who pass by.
“I just want people to know that in that time of their life during the ’90s, whatever they were doing, that these men and some women were over there fighting for democracy,” said McColgan.
Reported by Dave Huddleston, CBS3