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Veterans Day 2014 Salute

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!

A US Marine Corps assault vehicle. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
A US Marine Corps assault vehicle. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
US Coast Guard members educate the public of how their operations work. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
US Coast Guard members educate the public of how their operations work. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

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.

One of many military planes on display at the 2014 Tampa Bay AirFest. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
One of many military planes on display at the 2014 Tampa Bay AirFest. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
Civilian organizational partnerships have become more vital than ever when it comes to hosting an air show within the United States. This is "Benny" the VW Beetle, used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for community outreach. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
Civilian organizational partnerships have become more vital than ever when it comes to hosting an air show within the United States. This is “Benny” the VW Beetle, used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for community outreach. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

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!

TO OUR MILITARY MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE!

HARTride 2012

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Veterans Day 2012 Salute

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. I truly believe this saying when it comes to many photos that we look at each day. With Veterans Day approaching, I wanted to take some time to first thank all those who are serving, or have served in the branches of the United States military. I also would like to take a moment to post a couple of photo finds that I’ve come across during the past few months.

I first wanted to start with the US Navy, by which I’ve been very fascinated with since I was a child. In 2001, I had a rare opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Lassen (DDG 82), which is one of many guided missile destroyers that the Navy has in its fleet. The Lassen is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where it has been since 2005. Prior to 2005, the ship was stationed in San Diego, CA.

USS Lassen Commissioning in Tampa (2001)
The commissioning ceremony for the USS Lassen (DDG 82) in Tampa, FL (April 21, 2001). ~ Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

The above photo is of the commissioning ceremony that took place on April 21, 2001 in Tampa’s Channelside District. Back then, Channelside was just beginning its transformation from a largely industrial center into a livable urban complex. Although the cruise ship port was already in place during the 1990s (and the Florida Aquarium since its opening 1995), the residential boom in the district did not take full effect until around 2003.

Touring the USS Lassen definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially now that security has become so tight since the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. So it may be a very long time before I have another chance to be able to step aboard another active US Navy ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and tour, including being able to see Tampa’s downtown skyline from the ship’s bridge.

Yes, I will say this right now, the USS Lassen is one of my favorite US Navy ships! 😀

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