Circle of Heroes – New Veteran Memorial Under the Ocean
Off the coast of Clearwater, Florida near Dunedin Beach, is a unique memorial to US Military veterans. Called the “Circle of Heroes,” it is composed of statues that have been lowered into the sea. It’s the first of its kind anywhere. It was opened August 5, and at this time contains 12 statues- eventually it will have 24. It is free…if you can dive. (Stripes)
It’s a dive memorial- created for divers who want to visit the memorial in the peace and quiet of the ocean. The “Brighter Future Florida” nonprofit hopes to bring in veterans from all over the country to support those service members with physical or mental disabilities. They plan to use the “therapeutic” dives to assist those who will benefit from the aqua therapy.
“When you descend below the waves you enter a world of peace and tranquility. The sounds of chaos are replaced with nothing but your own breath, reminding you that you’re alive and not to waste that miracle on the pain.” Neysa Grzywa, Deep Sea Valkyries, Arizona speaker at Aug 5 dedication
For now, the 12 statues depicting troops in wars from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan rest in a 100-foot circle around a five-sided marker bearing emblems of each of the services. White said it will be expanded to 24 statues in the coming 12 to 18 months. The future statues will include servicemembers dating back to World War I.
The memorial was the brainchild of Heyward Mathews, an oceanography professor at St. Petersburg College in Florida, White said. Mathews wanted to create a permanent artificial reef off Florida’s coast that would bolster local marine life and honor the nation’s veterans.Corey Dickstein, Stripes
Each statue is created from scratch and can take 6 months to make.
Featured photo: some of the statues prior to being lowered into the ocean. Photo via Brighter Future Florida.