Published: Jun 01, 2010 2:17 AM EDT
Updated: May 31, 2010 4:14 PM EDT

Cape Coral has a new statue to honor service members.    A crowd of up to 1300 people gathered at Veteran's Park to watch the unveiling of "Tribute to a Soldier."

"I am so proud to see so many people here.   It touches my heart,"  said Rudy Diaz, one of the men who carried the statue from dream to reality.

"I was a small boy in France, and the Americans liberated my country from the Nazi's.    That is partly why I like this statue -- a solider saluting the flag, with a boy next to him, also saluting," said Diaz.

He and 3 other men raised more than 50-thousand dollars for the statue.   It stands about 50  yards from the Iwo Jima replica at the park.

"I am so touched by this.  I have a son in Iraq.   It means so much to pay tribute to the men and women in uniform," said Joan Frees of Cape Coral.