For Veterans Day this year, I’ve decided to do something a little different than in the previous two years. In 2012 and 2013, I did a “photo find” style post, where I shared photos of the various US military branches from social media outlets. However this year, I’ve decided to focus on community events that are dedicated to recognizing the hard work that our military personnel do each and every day!
The Tampa Bay area comprises of a strong military community. MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa has played a crucial role in US military operations since 1939. The base is home to the United States Central Command, which has played a key role in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the United States Special Operations Command and the 6th Air Mobility Wing. Additionally, companies such as Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, have facilities right here in the Tampa Bay Area.
This past weekend, Robinson High School, with the help of various military and local business partners, held a tribute event for our military members. The afternoon began with a showcase of military units near the school’s football field. Later in the evening, the school’s band held a wonderful concert dedicated to all those who have served in military, both past and present! The school hopes to make this an annual event!
Another event, this one by which the Tampa Bay Area as a whole always benefits from, is the MacDill AirFest – now known as the Tampa Bay AirFest. This event showcases the many vehicles, aircraft, and other resources that our military members use on a regular basis to help defend our country, as well as various civilian displays. For many years, the AirFest was an annual event, which during the 1990s, included a children’s carnival full of games and rides, and various weaponry displays. Both have been done away with since 2001.
Due to security concerns, the AirFest was not held in 2002. There was also not an event in 2012, because the 2011 event was held in November of that year. In 2013, Federal level budget cuts forced the cancellation of the 2013 event. Since the 2014 event, many air shows throughout the nation will no longer be held on an annual basis, but rather on a 15 to 24 month basis. Additionally, the Federal government will no longer put out as much funding for these events as they used to, leaving huge fundraising efforts laying on the laps of local municipalities, who in-turn must do more things than ever before to round in corporate and organizational sponsorships.
While there are a wide array of events on Veterans Day, such as festivals and parades, there are many other events held throughout the year that are dedicated to our hardworking military members. Please be sure to check with local media outlets regularly for upcoming events!