Florida's World War II Monument
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida

Remembering World War II in the Sunshine State

Florida's World War II Monument stands on the grounds of the R.A. Gray Building and Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee. It honors the 248,000 Floridians who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and the thousands of others who provided critical support for the war effort.

The United States entered World War II after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The conflict by then had been underway for more than two years. By the time it ended in 1945, the war had claimed more than 61,000,000 Allied military and civilian lives. The Axis forces (primarily Germany, Japan, and Italy) lost more than 12,000,000 lives. Approximately 3% of the world's population died between 1937 and 1945.

Florida was still mainly a rural state in 1941, with a total population of 1,897,414. As had been the case 80 years earlier at the beginning of the Civil War, the Sunshine State had fewer people than any other state in the South. That changed by the end of the decade, however, with the war effort helping to ignite a nearly 50% population boom during the 1940s.

Floridians served their country in every branch of the military. Records on file at the National Archives indicate that 3,174 died on the battlefield, 226 died from wounds received in action, seven died of battle-related injuries, 1,282 died of injury, disease or other causes outside the battlefield, and 17 were reported Missing in Action and never returned home.

More than 500,000 World War veterans lived in Florida when the state dedicated its monument in 2004. Their numbers have declined dramatically in the fifteen years since.
The column at the center of the Florida World War II Monument is a duplicate of the one that honors the state's World War II veterans at the National World War II Monument in Washington, DC.
The museums at Carrabelle and Pensacola are among dozens of World War II sites on the Florida World War II Heritage Trail. Prepared by the Division of Historical Resources, this trail is a way to explore the history of World War II in all regions of Florida. Please click here to see the downloadable guide book.​

The Florida World War II Monument is among the sites on the Heritage Trail, and both are part of the Florida World War II Memorial. A "living" memorial that provides World War II history and experiences in both the real and virtual worlds, the project includes the monument, a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, the heritage trail, a traveling exhibit, and online exhibits. Please click here to learn more.​
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The monument itself is on the grounds of the R.A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida. The central column is a duplicate of the one that represents Florida at the National World War II Monument in Washington, DC. Leading to it is a walkway of smaller monuments that represent each of Florida's 67 counties. Some express sentiments while others note the sacrifices of the counties represented.

Particularly poignant is the plaque representing Holmes County, one of the state's smallest counties in terms of population. "All gave some," it reads, "43 Holmes Countians gave all."

Adjacent to the monument in the R.A. Gray Building is the acclaimed Museum of Florida History. A permanent exhibit there tells the story of World War II through the experiences of Floridians. Please click here for information on visiting.

The National Archives maintains a list of those who died from each Florida county. Please click here to access it.

This map will help you locate Florida's World War II Monument and the Museum of Florida History:
Floridians served on every major battlefield of World War II, whether on the land, sea or in the air. The state' was home to scores of training facilities, including some that had a dramatic impact on the outcome of the war.

Camp Gordon Johnson, for example, trained 250,000 men for amphibious assaults. The post covered 20-miles of coastline at Carrabelle, and the soldiers trained there were among those who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. You can learn about its history at the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum in Carrabelle, Florida. Click here for more information.

NAS Pensacola - as the naval air station is formally known - is rightly called the "Cradle of Naval Aviation." Built on the site of the earlier Pensacola Navy Yard, the station trained U.S. Navy pilots during World War II - just as it still does today. 2,500 naval aviators trained each month at Pensacola, many of them later giving the supreme sacrifice in action. Flying from carriers and land installations, U.S. Navy pilots destroyed over 15,400 enemy aircraft in 1941-1945. You can learn their story at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola. It is one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Click here to learn more.

Click the play button below for a short video from the National Museum of Naval Aviation: