By Lauren Tjaden
Florida is proundly rich with a military history and culture, a culture that embraces freedom and protects our liberties, a culture that’s evident in every corner of the state.
In northwest Florida, at the Cubi Bar Café at Pensacola’s Naval Aviation Museum, you can get a taste of military tradition along with your soup and sandwich. The café duplicates the bar area of the famous Cubi Point Officers’ Club, open for almost 40 years, a much-heralded center of enjoyment for Navy and Marine Corps squadrons as they passed into the Western Pacific. It was celebrated for its Plaque Bar, where transiting squadrons commemorated each tour with a new plaque, a ritual that began during the Vietnam Conflict and continued until the closing of the base in 1992. Now, those thousands of plaques—not replicas, but the originals- adorn the walls of the café in the same positions they held in the Officer’s Club years ago. (Note: Admission to the National Naval Aviation Museum is currently limited to Department of Defense ID cardholders and their guests, and veterans with a Veterans Health Identification Card.)
In southern Florida, you can feel the excitement and spirit of the military at Fleet Week Port Everglades, an event held each spring in Fort Lauderdale, where more than 1,200 members of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard invade the city. Fleet Week promises a Pearl Harbor Memorial, a concert and a chance for visitors to tour active Navy and Coast Guard ships.
And in Central Florida, if you want to be reminded of how grateful we should be to the military, a place like Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell will do the trick. This peaceful, somber cemetery encompasses sweeping hills, rows of white gravestones and 51 soldiers and veterans memorials.
Check out these articles and videos to discover destinations where the Military heritage of Florida is on display, a strong heritage that marches proudly forward.
HISTORY TAKES FLIGHT AT THE NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM IN PENSACOLA
VISIT HARRY TRUMAN'S LITTLE WHITE HOUSE IN KEY WEST
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK
TOUR THE HISTORIC NIKE MISSILE BASE IN THE EVERGLADES
DIVE THE 'ORISKANY,' THE WORLD'S LARGEST ARTIFICIAL REEF
TOP 3 SHIPWRECK DIVING TOURS IN FLORIDA
FLORIDA BEER PAIRINGS: VETERANS UNITED CRAFT BREWERY AND JACKSONVILLE
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