A unique memorial in honor of all who have served in the five military services of the United States military will be dedicated next month in Dunedin Beach, FL. It was conceived as an underwater dive memorial. Those who visit it can do so either by scuba diving to the memorial itself, or by snorkeling above it.
This new monument is located at a depth of 40 feet, ten miles off of the coast of Dunedin, FL. It features 24 concrete statues representing members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. It is designed in a 100 ft circular form surrounding a pentagon-shaped monument that displays the emblems of each of the five services in bronze plaques.
This memorial was the idea of Heyward Mathews, a scuba dive instructor and oceanographer. He told the Military Times, “I just wanted something that was going to be permanent and also wanted something that was going to honor our veterans in a unique and different way.”
Well, this monument is truly unique. The 24 statues included in the monument are attached to 2,000-pound permanent bases. It will indeed honor our veterans for a long time to come.
It will not be an easy monument to visit, but this memorial was conceived as yet another way to help veterans dealing with PTS, depression and trauma. I know a few veterans, both from my era, Vietnam, and from the post 9/11 period, who were scuba trained and continue to dive today. This will certainly be on their bucket list to visit. But it will also be something to see by those who can observe it from above by snorkeling over the site.
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John David White, the director of former Republican Congressman of Florida, David Jolly’s “Brighter Future Florida,” a non-profit organization which helped raise the funds to build this underwater monument in honor of our nation’s servicemen and women, told the Military Times, “It’s a dive destination–yes, but it’s also going to give back to the veterans that may be able to benefit from it.”
You can see some of the 24 statues that are part of the monument being lowered to the sea floor in this video. They are of men and women and represent all of the services. It is kind of eerie watching them descend below the surface. Unfortunately, there are no images of them from below, but we can suppose that such images will become available at the completion of the monument, and certainly will become available when scuba divers actually begin to visit this unique monument to our military service members.
The dedication and ribbon cutting for this memorial will occur in August.
The Veterans Site hopes that it will be visited and enjoyed by many. We send our thanks to all who were involved in the conception of this project, in the fund raising to make it possible, and to the artists involved. It will be yet another way to thank all who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.