VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- After 75 years, the Navy SEALs finally have a monument of their own.
"We can't be part of some other monument," said former SEAL Rick Woolard, who headed up the monument effort. "We have to have our own space so that gave the impetus to find this location."
At 38th Street and the Boardwalk at the oceanfront stands "The Naked Warrior," a life size bronze statue which depicts a Wold War Two-era frogman.
It's been a labor of love for a retired Navy captain who brought the memorial to the city where SEAL history starts. The monument honors the origins of the Navy SEALs in Virginia Beach, which date back 75 years.
Welcome Naked Warrior - Navy Seal Monument honored it is standing in commemoration to these guardian warriors in VB#GreatestCityintheWorld pic.twitter.com/6cVqYhHpkd— Mayor Will Sessoms (@VABeachMayor) July 20, 2017
The monument features a new statue of a WWII Navy combat swimmer. There is also sand from places the SEALs have fought or trained, including Vietnam, France and Hawaii.
The 80,000 ponds of granite tells the story of special warfare operators dating back to the founding in 1942.
Paid for primarily through private donations, augmented by $18,000 worth of lighting and an inclined walk nearby paid for by the city.
"You have provided us all a rallying point to honor the sacrifices of our brothers and to recall the contributions and especially the enduring values that serve to connect generations of naked warriors throughout the decades," said Naval Special Warfare Command commanding officer, Rear Admiral Tim Symanski.
Former SEALs were fired up.
"This is the greatest thing we could have here and for ourselves, as veterans," said George Doran.
Jason Redman agreed. "I think this is amazing," he said. "Obviously, the SEAL teams have been a part of this community for over 70 years."
Redman hopes the public can learn a little about the usually super secret SEAL community.
"I hope it will give them an education as to the caliber of men that volunteered to go and the things they've done," he said.
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