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Fort Walton veterans' memorial bell tower plans proceeding

For the past few years, a group in Ft. Walton beach has been working to establish a monument commemorating Northwest Florida's military veterans.

Channel Three's Rob Brown reports in Okaloosa County.

The charge to bring a veterans' tribute tower to the Beal Memorial Cemetery has been underway for about three years. But those involved say they are making progress.

The tower will stand thirty feet tall, and contain a large clock on all four sides, like this one in Veteran's Memorial Park in Pensacola.
It will also hold a 250 pound custom made bell.
The bell will be rung to commemorate veterans on days of celebration and respect, and for service member funerals in the cemetery.
That bell will represent the first milestone reached in the quest for the tower.

Tom Rice "I'm just delighted to announce that we have signed the contract to have the company actually come here from Ohio, and actually cast the bell in their rolling foundry."

The company building the tower will cast and make the bell in Ft. Walton Beach in a special ceremony on September 11th.
While the bell will represent a major milestone, Tom Rice, President of the Tower Committee, says it's another step in a long road.

Tom Rice "We think about $150,000 more to actually finish the tower, do the site work."
   
They're hoping seeing the bell completed will rally the community to help.

Bill Zuppa "..a wonderful experience to see the improvements as we move along and see what we're doing."

Bill Zuppa is an Air Force veteran who served in Korea and Vietnam.
He says the tower will be more than just steel and bronze.

Bill Zuppa "We don't have anything to recognize these brave, heroic men and women of our armed forces. And so this is the beginning of our efforts to show these people our appreciation and our gratitude."

Project organizers say they hope to have the tower in place by Memorial Day of next year. In Ft. Walton Beach, Rob Brown, Channel Three News.