FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners will unveil the Women Veterans Monuments at Veterans’ Park on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, 2021.
Presentations will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on Bayview Plaza outside of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center on Okaloosa Island, adjacent to Veterans’ Park.
The eight bronze statues pay homage to the military which has played an integral role in sculpting our community.
Florida is home to the second-largest population of women veterans in the nation, second only to Washington, D.C. What makes this memorial one-of-a-kind is that the statues pay tribute to women who have served throughout history.
“The Nation will be proud and residents, along with guests will embrace the detail, quality, and effort that has gone into honoring women who have given such dedication to our country,” said Carolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Chairman.
“Additionally, the statues will be situated along the trail in a way that preserves the natural habitat of native wildlife and vegetation.”
Ketchel spearheaded the effort to build the monuments. She is the only woman serving on the board.
Honorees chosen by the Women Veterans Monument Advisory Committee and approved by the Board include the following:
- Margaret Corbin (Revolutionary War, Army
- Cathay Williams (Civil War, Army)
- Lenah Higbee (World War I, Navy)
- Jacqueline Cochran (World War II, Air Force Reserves),
- Jonita Ruth Bonham – Bovée (Korean War, Army Air Corps / Air Force)
- Sharon Ann Lane (Vietnam War, US Army Nurse Corps Reserve)
- Leigh Ann Hester (Persian Gulf War, Army National Guard),
- Naseema (War in Afghanistan, US Air Force).
Learn more about the honorees at myokaloosa.com/bcc/women-veterans-memorial.
The Women Veterans Memorial includes a dedication plaza, ADA sidewalks, parking, landscape with irrigation and eight life-size bronze statues, made possible, entirely by Okaloosa County Tourism Development funding.
A Living Shoreline, funded by a RESTORE grant, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and matching funds from Tourism Development, will be constructed to protect 2,200 linear feet of shoreline by reducing the impact of wave energy and providing an oyster habitat, a seagrass recruitment area, and a salt marsh shelf.
There is a boardwalk planned, along with an education component and post-construction monitoring.
Parking for the unveiling is available onsite at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention
Center located at 1250 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.