Memorial Day in Clearwater – May 2024

WOW oh WOW!  We are sooooo very blessed to have one of the most magnificent venues – Clearwater Coachman Park – in the world for celebrations. And celebrate the remembrance of fallen military heroes, the people of clearwater and Tampa Bay did.

Folks came from across Florida to unite in the celebration of the lives lost defending our great country.  There are so so many great organizations that help our Veterans it would be impossible to list them all here.  But when they come together, in the pursuit of a common goal, the mission will be accomplished.  And this past weekend it was proven out as Robbie Groover and Father Bob Swick once again coordinated an event that will take wings and flourish over the next few decades to keep those fallen heroes close to our collective hearts.

The day began at 10am with a fantastic parade traveling from Missouri Avenue down Clearwater west to Coachman Park. Along with thousands of locals, numerous veteran groups, local VIP’s and veterans there were current and former City Council and Management were present providing their respect.  It was both a beautiful and humbling experience for all.  If you are reading this post, please pass it along to any and all that may wish to participate in our upcoming Veterans Day event and next years Memorial Day parade.  We are always open to more participants that might wish to bring a marching band, floats, scouts, military group float or vehicles, etc.  Come one come all.

After the parade we were blessed to have numerous guests speak in the park. We heard from the Mayor of Clearwater, several veterans and SSG David Bellavia, a Medal of Honor recipient. All gave tremendous tribute stories to remind us the costs of our freedoms today.  Somehow Robbie even managed to have a real live flying Golden Eagle arrive to show off her wings. Hopefully, you will join us in the celebration next and future years to come.

A beautiful day of celebrating those defending our Freedom was capped off with a free concert and the main act – the Dave Bray Band, in Coachman park. Patriotism could be felt and heard for miles.

Over at Crest Lake Park, there is a memorial wall serving to remind locals and tourists alike, that freedom for most comes at the cost of freedom from some.  This is another testament to Father Bob and Robbie Groover’s long commitment to honoring our fallen.  Anyone can visit this wonderful memorial anytime any day of the week.  And if you are so inclined, there are still some memory brick placements available.

Father Bob, our spiritual leader, served in the United States Marine Corps where he was active duty for over 4 years and earned a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. He is the Chairman of the Veterans Alliance of Clearwater and he serves locally as a missionary to Veterans throughout Tampa Bay. Father Bob leads St. Francis of Assisi Old Catholic Church in Dunedin.

This event was a long time in development and certainly long overdue.  Since most celebrate Memorial Day with localized small gatherings, the decision was made by Father Bob and Robbie to create something on the weekend prior to Memorial Day.  The reason for this decision was simple, to bring more like minded groups together for an annual event that helps the entire community and helps all veteran groups alike.

Working with the City of Clearwater and the Downtown Development Group and other Veteran community leaders and groups, Robbie and Father Bob were able to utilize all of their various organizational skills to combine forces and unite the different groups into one common purpose – to celebrate the lives that were given for all of our collective freedom.

After spending the day with these amazing people and listening to the patriotic speeches and music, I came away with a new viewpoint on why our military forces, and what they do, truly matter.  Like most, I have numerous family and friends that have served. I’ve always known the importance for defending our country and it’s underlying values but this weekend I realized it goes much deeper than that.

For all of the obvious downside effects of having the worlds largest military force in human history, the upside is worth the underlying monetary and human costs.  The upside being that America was founded with the purpose of illuminating humanity’s best virtues.  Those virtues being to support mankind relentless pursuit of life, liberty and happiness while protecting inalienable rights of freedom as outlined in our constitution and bill of rights which we all know so well.

There are certainly a lot of rights to protect.  And protecting the beacon of America shining throughout the world that teaches one and all that they can be free from governmental and other oppression to pursue their dreams, both here and for a spiritual eternity, are the most important of all.  May God bless America and bless you too.



Pin It on Pinterest