From the Navy SEALS to the Air Force, Florida’s military museums keep the traditions and history of the armed forces front and center.
On Veterans Day, many of these museums will commemorate members of all branches of service.
The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce (navysealmuseum.com) tells the history of Navy underwater demolition teams and Navy SEALs from their beginnings during World War II to the present day.
Many trained in Fort Pierce, as well as Virginia Beach. Some of the original obstacle courses remain on the grounds of the museum.
Bronze sculptures in the Memorial Garden honor Navy SEALs and their predecessors. Created by world-renowned artist Pablo Eduardo, the statues depict the evolution of Naval Special Warfare, featuring a Vietnam era frogman and a contemporary SEAL.
The museum includes the Navy SEAL Memorial, aircraft, submersibles, boats and weaponry.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Homecoming Show is Veterans Day weekend, November 8-9, in Pensacola at the National Naval Aviation Museum (navysealmuseum.com).
Performers include the Leap Frogs Navy Parachute Team, Adam Baker Extra 330 Aerobatics, the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team and Stearman Flight Team. The museum has more than 200 aircraft on display.
The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda (freedomisntfree.org, 941-575-9002) hosts an All Veterans Freedom Festival November 9-11, with a parade, concert by Gulf Shore Tenors, a kids’ discovery zone, museum tours, films, flight simulators and remote-control tank battles.
Kissimmee’s Museum of Military History (www.museumofmilitaryhistory.com) is one of the few military museums in Florida owned by veterans. On November 9, the museum’s Don Smith will serve as grand marshal of the Veterans Day parade in downtown Kissimmee. The parade’s theme this year is “Honor Veterans Year Round.”
Patriotic Sites to See
Ybor City’s “Fearless Champions,” created by artist Becky Ault, depicts four life-sized figures and a piece of steel from the World Trade Center Tower 2. Now known as “Stainless Steel Survivors of 9/11,” it honors the victims and first responders from September 11, 2001. It was unveiled September 11, 2014.
The Monument of States in downtown Kissimmee was created during World War II by Charles Bressler-Pettis as a symbol of unity for the United States. Requesting a rock from each state, the central Florida man had them mounted on a makeshift pyramid that was dedicated March 28, 1943. The monument was restored and refreshed by local businessmen in 2001.
Here are some great uses for dryer sheets when you travel:
- Deodorize shoes. Put a dryer sheet in each shoe before packing.
- De-bug car windows. Wet a dryer sheet with warm water, then clean your car windows and grill.
- Get rid of static cling. Rub on pants or skirts, or even over your hair, to stop static electricity.
- Refresh your car. Slip one into the driver’s seat pockets or under the seat to eliminate odors.
- Keep your luggage fresh. Drop a sheet into a suitcase between trips.