By Kathy L Collins

In an effort to pay tribute and provide a proper memorial to those who served in Iraq, Mark Goujon, an Iraq War Veteran, is leading the way to raise funds to build an Iraq Veterans Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, located at 3602 N. U.S. Hwy. 301 in Tampa.

Goujon said, “I came across a brochure for the Veterans Park in my work breakroom. I went to the park museum to volunteer and the park rangers told me about the park committee. When I attended the monthly committee meeting, I discovered that the Vietnam War Memorial was close to completion, and I was inspired by the impressive memorial.”

The Iraq Veterans Memorial will honor the sacrifice of the 196 fallen warriors from the state of Florida who were lost in Iraq and to honor veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. The centerpiece of the memorial will be a six-ft.  bronze Fallen Soldier Battle Cross.

Fundraising for the Iraq Veterans Memorial started in November of last year. So far, $11,000 has been raised from the sale of granite tiles and bricks. The plan is to have the six-ft. bronze Fallen Soldier Battle Cross installed by the beginning of 2013. Goujon said, “We want to have something for potential supporters to see and get excited about.”

Goujon stated, “We would like to have the entire project built by Veterans Day in November of 2013. With the help of the community, we have eight months to raise the funds required to build the Iraq Veterans Memorial.” Goujon added, “We need the help of the community to get involved in the fundraising efforts so that there is a memorial here in Florida. Not everyone gets a chance to see the memorial in Washington, D.C. or pay their respects to the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery.”

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