First 12 Circle of Heroes statues lowered underwater to memorial site

The first 12 statues, forming the nation’s first underwater dive memorial honoring veterans, have been lowered into place in the Gulf of Mexico. Plans call for 24 statutes representing each of the U.S. armed forces.

CLEARWATER — The first 12 statues, forming the nation’s first underwater dive memorial honoring veterans, have been lowered into place in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a July 21 press release.

The memorial, called Circle of Heroes, will be located roughly 10 miles off the Pinellas County shore. A dedication and ribbon cutting will take place in early August.

The statues, each standing 6-feet tall, will form a “Circle of Heroes” 40-feet underwater. In the center, a single monument, weighing nearly 3 tons, features bronze emblems representing each of the U.S. armed forces — Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard.

Circle of Heroes will serve not just as a memorial and tourist attraction, but also as a therapeutic dive site for disabled veterans suffering from PTSD, depression and trauma. Additionally, the statues will become an artificial reef to help sustain marine life in the Gulf waters.

Until the ribbon cutting, the public and media are asked to stay away from the site for safety reasons as work continues.

For more information, visit www.VetMemorial.org.