Back home in Florida, I always heard my veteran uncles and my father talking about stories of them in the service. My father and his brother were both in the United States Army, and my uncle on my mother's side was in the Navy. They'd always tease him saying he had it easy compared to them. I knew whenever my father came up to Tuscaloosa, I'd take him to Veteran's Memorial Park. Well, he finally got to see it and it was such a cool experience.

 

The whole weekend, my father kept asking me about "Going to see the army tanks" in Tuscaloosa. I know he wanted t go to Veteran's Memorial Park so, on Saturday, I made sure we had time to go check it out. I've been in Tuscaloosa for almost a year and although I've been, I 've never walked through the park in depth. As we walked up, my father immediately went to the huge tank and started telling me all about it. He told me they used to call them "Deathtraps" because there's no way out of them when you're under attack. We had to spend at least 10 minutes on just the tank alone. When he told me that the tank could hit a target all the way in Birmingham, I didn't believe it. Luckily there was a post in front of the tank that gave the facts about the tank and he was right! The M60A3 TTS medium tank had a maximum range of 260 miles! WOW! It weighed 57 tons and had a maximum speed of 30 MPH. I guess that's why they called it the deathtrap. we looked at the old Air Force Jeep and he explained to me how you had to crank it up. It was very different than cars today.

We walked around the park and I learned a lot about the guns that were on the battleships, the vehicles they used to drive, and the difference between Jungle Warfare and Urban Warfare. My father's MOS was 11- B, 11-C, and 11-H infantry. It's so great that veterans have a place to come reminisce, and appreciate the service of their fellow citizens who were in the armed forces. It's safe to say he loved it!

According to their website, Veterans Memorial Park was developed as a memorial for all veterans of the United States Armed Forces and as a tribute to Northington General Army Hospital, one of the largest military hospitals in the world at the end of WWII. What I didn't know was that when the hospital closed, the site could only be used as a memorial to vets or a denominational church. I'm glad I got t take my father over to the park and learned a lot myself while spending some quality time with my father. If for any reason, you haven't had a chance to check out Veteran's Memorial Park, stop by and take a detailed look at the history we have right here in Tuscaloosa.

 

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