Celebration Salutes Nation’s Heroes, Showcases Korean, Vietnam & Iraq War Memorials

By Tamas Mondovics

Residents both young and old throughout Brandon and surrounding areas gathered together at local schools and parks to remember and honor the nation’s Veterans from all wars.

The hundreds that attended the annual Veterans’ Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum located at 3602Iraq veterans Memorial N. Hwy. 301 in Tampa, along with dozens that visited the park over the weekend, had a chance to tour two of the park’s veterans’ memorials, Korea and Vietnam, as well as the Iraq Veterans Memorial currently under construction. Ceremonies at the Park included the 49th Annual Veterans Day Tribute under the direction of the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County.

The event began with the presentation of colors by the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion Honor Guard and JROTC Cadets, followed by a special ceremony in remembrance of the signing of the Armistice to end the First World War, as well as the POW/MIA Missing Man ceremony.

Hillsborough County Board of County Commission Chairman, Ken Hagan, presented an official proclamation while keynote speaker, Colonel Andre J. Briere USAF, Vice Commander, 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill AFB spoke to those in attendance.

With the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials now complete at the park, the members of the Iraq Veterans Memorial (IVM) committee are working tirelessly to open the newest addition with a dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, December 14, from 2–4 p.m.

According to IVM Committee Chairman, Mark R. Goujon, the Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn memorial will be an appropriate addition to the park.

“We will dedicate this memorial honoring the 190 Floridians who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty while serving in Iraq,” Goujon said. To reach its goal, the IVM committee is urging residents to join them on Thursday, December 5, for the Iraq Veterans’ Memorial Golf Tournament.

The event will include a four-person scramble, dinner, awards and prizes reception following the golf. The shotgun start is at 1 p.m. Cost is $100 for individuals and $400 for a foursome. For more information, please visit veter ansparkhc.com/Iraq, or on facebook.com/IraqVeteransMemorial.