|Veterans Memorial Park, Home of Wall South.|
World War I
Escambia County Veterans Roundtable-Global War on Terrorism Vets in Need
|In December of 1987 the "Moving Wall" came to Pensacola
Florida and was visited by many of the local people, including some of the areas Vietnam
Veterans. As time came for the Wall to move on, some of the Vietnam Vets that had stood
vigil for the five days the Wall was in town decided it was time for Pensacola to have a
permanent monument honoring the men and women that served and died in Vietnam. This was
the start of the Dream.
For five years the Vietnam Veterans of Northwest Florida (VVNF) held garage sales, 5 and 10 K runs, baseball/softball tourneys; car washes and hundreds of other fund raisers in hopes of making the Dream come true. With the help and support of family, friends and active duty service members, this Dream came true in 1992.
The Wall South Foundation, formed by the VVNF to oversee the building of "Wall South", reached an agreement with the city of Pensacola in January 1991 for a five and one half acre site on Bayfront Parkway. This would be the home of Veterans Memorial Park/Wall South, a park to honor Veterans of all of America's wars. In exchange for the five-and-one-half acre site overlooking Pensacola Bay, Vietnam Veterans of Northwest Florida (VVNF) signed an agreement with the city of Pensacola making the Wall South Foundation--the fund raising arm of VVNF -- fully responsible for upkeep and maintenance of Veterans Memorial Park which includes a World War I Memorial (relocated to the park from downtown Pensacola), a World War II Memorial, a Monument dedicated the World War II Submarine Lifesaving League, a Vietnam-era HU-1M Huey helicopter, a children of Vietnam Veterans memorial and all future memorials which may be added to the park. With more than 750,000 people, including Vice Presidents Dan Quayle and Al Gore, having visited Wall South since its dedication, Veterans Memorial Park/Wall South has become a beautiful, yet somber, tourist attraction for the Florida Panhandle. and while the park is technically city property, its maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the Wall South Foundation and Vietnam Veterans of Northwest Florida. A responsibility which requires continuing fund raising. Not one dime of taxpayer money is used for maintenance and upkeep of Veterans Memorial Park. Every penny spent comes from donations--most of it raised by the very people responsible for building the park in the first place-- Pensacola area Vietnam veterans. In addition to monetary donations for park and monument maintenance by Vietnam veterans, most of the work required to maintain the park--cutting grass and hedges, pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc.,--is done by Active Duty men and women from the local Military Bases and local volunteers, many of whom have varying degrees of war related disabilities. Besides the labor intensive chores, there is a constant need for volunteers to help visitors locate a name on the Wall and to collect and catalog the many artifacts left there. And that, the VVNF members say, is how it should be. As the slogan engraved at the base of the flag pole of Veterans Park proclaims, (we were) "Together Then. Together Again."