CLEARWATER, Fla. — The nation's first underwater dive memorial honoring our country's veterans is now open to the public.
The Circle of Heroes memorial officially opened Monday. Located 10 miles off the coast of Clearwater Beach in the Gulf of Mexico, the underwater memorial currently consists of 12 life-sized statues.
The statues are made of concrete and represent men and women serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.
Many say this isn't just a memorial, but a place of therapy for our vets.
"In places where our veterans should feel the most safe and secure, many feel more vulnerable than when they're being shot at. But when you descend below the waves you enter a place of peace and tranquility. The sounds of chaos are replaced by nothing but your own breath, reminding you that you're alive and not to waste that miracle on the pain," said Neysa Grzywa of Deep Sea Valkyries.
An additional 12 statues are projected to be installed in 2020 to complete the 100-foot Circle of Heroes.
The Circle of Heroes project is funded through private businesses, community donors and Pinellas County.