Military Museum Preserves History and Honors Those Who Preserved Freedom
Photos/text by Renee Burrell
Largo's Leonard J. Schroeder Jr (Colonel US Army, retired, Company F second battalion 8th infantry fourth infantry division), the 1st soldier on Utah Beach on D-day, shares a moment with Mark Bowman Brigadier General United States Army Director of Command, Control, communications, and computer systems, j-6 in the museum garden's memorial walk
LARGO - The Armed Forces Military Museum in Largo opened its doors Saturday, August 16, with an opening ceremony invocation and celebration. The 35,000-square-foot museum is located at 2050 34th Way N. off of Ulmerton Road between Belcher and Starkey Road.
Congressman Bill Young attended and presented the museum's founder, John Piazza, with an American flag that had previously flown over the Capitol. Radio personality Jack Harris served as master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker was Brigadier General Ronald F. Baczkowski. Other guest speakers included Largo Mayor Pat Gerard on hand for the ribbon cutting, State Representative Janet Long, and Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni.
The museum houses a vast collection of military memorabilia amassed by founder, Piazza, a former Marine. Audio, visual and other special sensory effects help bring the artifacts to life. World Wars I and II exhibits include a World War I battle trench, two World War II torpedoes, Japanese warship reproductions used in the film "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and an amphibian craft from the D-Day invasion at Normandy. A display of German Third Reich artifacts including uniforms, medals and other memorabilia are exhibited as is a uniform once worn by Saddam Hussein.
Exhibits pertaining to the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War in Iraq are soon to be unveiled.
The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Regular business hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.armedforcesmuseum.net or phone (727)539-837.
Congressman Bill Young (left at podium) presented the museum's founder, John Piazza (right) with a flag from the Capitol
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