Colonel Ron Radford, USAF (Ret), has informed Historic City News reporters that in order to establish St Augustine as the premier destination for learning about the vital role of the military in our city, our state, and our nation, it will be necessary to communicate a “systematic and consistent message of our history”.
Towards that end, Radford reports the establishment of the “St Augustine 450th Military Commemoration Committee”, in which he serves as chairman. Our nation’s military, dating back to 1565, is to be honored for its achievements; as demonstrated by 450 years of continuous protection.
“We are working to integrate the various military events that normally occur each year to assure the general message of the military protection of the city is properly communicated,” Radford said.
For more than a year, according to an article included in this week’s St Augustine Report, Radford’s committee has been developing symposia, documentaries, restorations and markers. Annual military events include the First Militia, Memorial Day, Seminole War, and Veterans Day.
Additionally, Report editor George Gardner says, a former part of the First America series at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium, titled “To Arms” will become part of the committee’s commemoration of 450 years of military history in St Augustine.
The 450th Military Commemoration Committee logo incorporates elements of the city coat of arms – the castle a sign of defense and safety and raised arm with sword signifying a military outpost – with modern aircraft and naval insignia to stress continuous protection through 450 years of St Augustine history.
In 2013 the committee plans a British Period event, and for 2014, an enlarged Battle of Fort Mose.
For the city’s 450th anniversary in 2015, look for a “First Guard Muster” major Memorial Day ceremony, redesign of the “Hamblen House” American Legion Hall on the bayfront as a center for military tourism, and a Veteran’s Day Celebration featuring a Grand military parade from Castillo to National Cemetery.
Along the way will be symposia on key military history periods and documentaries and other educational material based on historical research and recorded events.
Learn more about the St Augustine 450th Military Commemoration Committee on their website at http://www.450military.org/
Ambitious legacy projects for the committee include construction of a First Militia statue, locating, marking, and to the extent possible restoring past military sites such as Fort Picolata, Fort Diego, and Fort Mose.
An exhibit is planned for the Visitor Information Center, markers along the sea wall highlighting the city’s military history – with cell phone coded audio accounts, and a National Center for Military Heritage.