Veterans Center and World War II Memorial to Open Dec. 7
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day will take on even more meaning this year when Hillsborough County and local veterans welcome two major additions to the Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr., Veterans Museum.
On Dec. 7 at 10 a.m., County leaders and veterans will officially open the Veterans Resource Center, as well as dedicate the new World War II Memorial at the park, located at 3602 U.S. Highway 301 N. in Tampa. The ceremony is open to anyone who wishes to attend.
The 8,000-square-foot Veterans Resource Center will be the new home for the County's Consumer & Veterans Services, and includes a multipurpose room for training and special events. The facility will offer a one-stop shop for services for local veterans, who number more than 98,000 in Hillsborough - the highest veteran population in Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Services assists veterans, dependents, and survivors in accessing federal, state, and local benefits. There is never a fee to visit with a Veterans Service Officer.
A standout feature on the new building's exterior is the colorful depiction of service ribbons from all branches of the U.S. military. Funding for the $2.2 million facility included approximately $1.9 million in grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The new World War II memorial pays tribute to both the immensity of the conflict and local heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Lasting from 1939 to 1945, the war was the most widespread and deadliest conflict in human history. The memorial features a brick plaza flanked by twin walls depicting iconic images from the major theaters of the war. Two bridges commemorate the Bataan Death March and the Battle of Remagen. An M3 Stuart tank and a howitzer stand watch, and a monument denotes the role of the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees. Granite plaques are etched with the names of 520 service members from Hillsborough County who died in the war.
The Veterans Memorial Park and Museum Committee, comprised of local veterans, partnered with the County on the design of the memorial and raised funds toward the cost.
Following the ceremony, visitors are invited to walk through the resource center and World War II Memorial, as well as visit the other memorials and the free museum at the park.
For more information about the Dec. 7 event or Veterans Memorial Park, call (813) 744-5349.