Cape High remembers its own with flagpole restoration project
U.S. Army Captain Danny Eggers died serving his country six years ago, but his legacy will live on for generations at Cape Coral High School.
Eggers was honored during a special ceremony at his alma mater on Friday, attended by hundreds of students, school faculty, former military personnel, and old friends.
“He was a great guy and true leader,” said Andrew Evangelista, Eggers’ long-time friend. “He was the reason I joined JROTC.”
Evangelista traveled from Atlanta to witness the ceremony, a rededication of the flagpole area in honor of Eggers’ memory. He said he knew Eggers through middle and high schools, and was instrumental to his decision to sign up for ROTC program. He added that he had no doubt Eggers was headed for a long and distinguished career in the armed forces.
“He would have been a joint chief,” Evangelista said.
Raised in Cape Coral, Eggers graduated from Cape Coral High School in 1993, and attended the Citadel on a full military scholarship. After graduating from the Citadel in 1997, Eggers continued his military career as a second lieutenant, then on to Special Forces training in 2001. He achieved the status of Green Beret in 2003.
It was during his second tour in Afghanistan, May 29, 2004, that he was killed in the line of duty.
Eggers’ parents, Bill and Margaret, said people expected to see Danny become a general one day.
Just prior to his death, Margaret said Danny told her he was happy with everything he had achieved so far.
They both said they were honored by the ceremony.
“The ceremony is breathtaking,” Margaret Eggers said. “It’s a tribute to Danny, to the JROTC programs, and the city.”
ROTC teacher, retired Lt. Col. Erich Boerner, said his students put more than 800 hours of labor into the restoration project.
He said previously that Eggers’ example and legacy has been invaluable tool to help teach his students about the “seven core values” which include loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and personal courage, which are summed up in a line written by Gen. George Patton, “You are always on parade.”
Boerner said Eggers realized very early that the JROTC program, where he served as battalion commander, was a vehicle to help him achieve his goals.
Even though his passing is now more than half a decade old, Boerner said the lessons of Eggers’ life lives on.
“Even in death … he was a teacher in every sense of the word,” Boerner said.
Friday’s ceremony served two purposes. Not only was Eggers honored with a ceremonial stone, but it also marked the completion of Cape Coral High School’s rededication project.
Much like Eggers, Tia Hayes is the JROTC Battalion Commander although Hayes, a senior, is headed for Florida Gulf Coast University instead of enlisting.
Hayes said she joined JROTC because she already had a friend in the program.
Although she’ll be studying business management in fall, she said she will never forget the lessons of JROTC and the trail that Eggers blazed.
“We’re all honored to be a part of this,” Hayes said. “It’s hard to describe how it feels.”