By Tamas Mondovics

Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. Veterans Museum is opening its doors to host the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall this fall.

While the most-visited National Park Service site in Washington, D.C., millions of Americans have not seen it or will never see or experience the impact of “The Wall” in their lives.

Sponsored by The Colonel George Mercer Brooke Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), opening ceremony for the display is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park, 3602 U.S. Highway 301 North in Tampa.

The display stands eight feet high and 240 feet long. Its black, reflective surface is inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died or are missing in Vietnam and will take its temporary, but rightful place at the park from Tuesday, October 26 – 29.

According to Janice A. Bassett, sponsoring the opening ceremony is the result of a commemorative partnership between the Department of Defense for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and the Colonel George Mercer Brooke Chapter, which holds two programs annually featuring Vietnam War Veterans discussing the war and those who served.

“As the Chapter’s final tribute to the sacrifices made during that conflict, we are proud to sponsor the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall Exhibit at Veterans Memorial Park in Tampa,” Bassett said.

United States Air Force, (former), Vietnam Prisoner of War, Captain Michael T. Burns, was selected as the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony.

The event is a part of a number special events scheduled to take place at the park.

Residents were recently invited to learn about the County’s proposal to increase parking availability at the park, the $450,000 project to create parking for an additional 70 to 90 vehicles along with the addition of a secondary access point for use during special events is clearly a sound addition to the Park, a popular destinations that features several memorials and monuments, while hosting special events and ceremonies throughout the year.

The County is also involved with the construction of an 8,000-square-foot Veterans Resource Center on the grounds, which will become the new home for the County’s Consumer and Veterans Services.
Additionally, the Park will also host the upcoming Afghanistan Memorial dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, October 7, 2017, at 10 a.m.

“The Veterans Park Committee is grateful for the success of its recent war memorial dedication ceremonies,” said Afghanistan Memorial Committee member Mark Goujon.

For more information, please contact Hillsborough County Consumer and Veterans Services at 246-3170.

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