The American Legion Post 148 of Riverview is inviting residents to help honor men and women who lost their lives in service to their country during a rededication ceremony for the Fallen Heroes Memorial and Field of Honor.
The ceremony, hosted by the Riverview post, will take place Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, 3602 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, just north of the Tampa Bypass Canal.
Expected to be on hand for the ceremony are members of the Hillsborough County Commission, Veterans Council of Hillsborough County and families of local fallen heroes.
The Fallen Heroes Memorial is a replica of the memorial located at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa across from County Center. It contains the names of 55 Hillsborough County residents who have paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
The event also will include the rededication of the Field of Honor at the park, which was recently moved to share space with the new Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Following the rededication ceremonies, the Hillsborough County Veterans Council will hold its quarterly Field of Honor ceremony, which honors all the casualties of the last three months (October through December 2012) from Operation Enduring Freedom. During this ceremony, the names of the fallen will be read and an American Flag will be placed in their memory in the Field of Honor.
The ceremonies will include remarks by Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, U.S. Central Command’s command senior enlisted leader.
The presentation of the colors will be performed by the U.S. Central Command Color Guard and a flyover, including the missing man formation, will be provided by the Ye Mystic AirKrewe.
The Marine Corps League Detachment 1226 of Riverview will present a rifle salute and “Taps” and the Candy Apples and Visions Choir from Riverview High School will perform the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The Blue Star Mothers of Greater Tampa Bay Chapter also will present custom-made Gold Star Banners to several Gold Star Mothers in attendance in an official crossover ceremony.
The 40-acre Veterans Memorial Park is owned by Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and is maintained and operated by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. The park was designed to pay tribute to U.S. Armed Forces members past and present. It was conceived by Florida veterans in 1980, and opened on Independence Day in 1991.
In addition to the Field of Honor and new Fallen Heroes Memorial, outdoor displays include the Veterans' Freedom Memorial dedicated to all American veterans and a new Vietnam War memorial that includes two Vietnam-era helicopters.
The park began a renovation and expansion in 2009 and has plans to open memorials dedicated to each war, new ceremonial areas and displays.
The Rear Adm. LeRoy Collins Jr. Veterans Museum on the grounds of the park includes several displays that highlight the role of Florida and its residents in military campaigns throughout history, and changing exhibits have honored those who served in the Civil War, the Second Seminole Indian War, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
For more information, contact Walt Raysick, president of the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County, at 813-653-4924, or the county’s Veterans Affairs Office at 813-246-3170.