Veterans helped break ground on a new World War II Memorial for Hillsborough County Saturday. The ceremony took place at the Veteran's Memorial Park off U.S. 301 in Tampa.
Hundreds of people attended the event held on the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Veteran Ed Socha, 92, survived the attack by not attending a church service held on the Battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma.
"I glanced over the side and gasped at the unbelievable sight of the Oklahoma flipped bottom up," said Socha, who was stationed aboard the U.S.S Maryland. "There were rescuers tapping on the hull of the Oklahoma. They were listening."
Japanese Bombers were behind the massive December 7, 1941, air strike on Pearl Harbor Naval Base.
It ended with more than 2,400 American troops killed.
The United States officially entered World War II.
Mary Ellen Harlan is the widow of a World War II Veteran.
"As the men and women died in WWII, many of them did not come home to give their families love and hugs," said Harlan.
"The families are not there to have them on holidays...the ceremonies...to stand beside them and be there at night when they come home for dinner. We're alone."
Organizers said they anticipate the new World War II Memorial will be the "biggest and most spectacular in the state."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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