How cool! An underwater dive memorial has been created in the Gulf of Mexico, dedicated to United States veterans! It is known as the "Circle of Heroes," and now features 24 concrete statues. The statues represent all service members from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and the Coast Guard.
The statues are anchored by 2,000 pound bases 40 feet below the surface about 10 miles off the coast of Dunedin Beach in Florida. They are part of a 100-foot circle facing a pentagon-shaped monument honoring the services with bronze emblems on its five sides.
Former Rep. David Jolly of Florida led efforts to raise funds for the project through his nonprofit organization, Brighter Future Florida. Jolly was inspired to assist the project because of his uncle’s vision for the memorial, according to Florida Politics.
Jolly's uncle, Heyward Matthews said, “(I) just wanted something that was going to be permanent and also wanted something that was going to honor our veterans in a unique and different way." Matthews is a scuba diving instructor, as well as an oceanographer.
They created the memorial in an attempt to help veterans who may be battling things such as PTSD, depression, and trauma.
Veteran and director of the nonprofit Brighter Future Florida John David White has plans to lead a group of amputee veterans on a dive to the memorial.
“It’s a dive destination — yes,” White said, “But it’s also going to give back to the veterans that may be able to benefit from it.”
The memorial can be seen from above with a snorkel, or divers are welcome to scuba dive to see it up close.