In a month when many feel the need to thank those who have given all to our country, the Veterans Art Center Tampa Bay (VACTB) 501(c)(3) will host The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial at Brandon Harley-Davidson from Tuesday through Saturday, November 16-20.
The exhibit, with the mission to honor the service and sacrifice of all who serve, then, now and tomorrow, consists of life-size paintings of the 22 Ohio-based Lima Company Marines and one Navy corpsman who in 2005 paid the ultimate price for our freedom during combat operations in Iraq.
“We’re very excited to bring this incredibly impactful military tribute to the Tampa Bay. We are proud to have everyone in attendance honor the men and women that serve in our great military,” added Mike Strahle, director of The Eyes of Freedom and a member of the Lima Company (he served along with the men honored in the life-size paintings). “There are many veterans in the Tampa Bay area and all over the state that have served proudly, and I invite everyone to visit us during display hours to honor all branches of service, past, present and future.”
Artist and creator of the exhibit Anita Miller unveiled her work in the Ohio State House Rotunda in 2008.
“The main reason for creating The Eyes of Freedom was to heal family members and loved ones after suffering such loss in 2005, and now it travels as part of a much larger mission,” said Miller, who worked with family and Lima Co. Marines to paint this tribute, a project that took her two and a half years to complete.
Strahle retired from Lima Co. 3/25, and upon seeing The Eyes of Freedom unveiled at the statehouse in 2008, he knew he had witnessed something truly special. Three years later, he would contact Miller, requesting to host the memorial at a veteran’s support fundraiser he co-founded. This exhibit has been shown at 330 venues across the county, including the National Museum of USMC and two times on Independence Day at the Washington Memorial.
To learn more, visit www.eyesoffreedom.org. Brandon Harley-Davidson is located at 9841 E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa.