Three cheers to the Rough Riders for answering a call for help in refurbishing the Spanish-American War memorial at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Tampa.
The cemetery is the resting place for more than 100 veterans of that war. When a relative of one of those vets told the Rough Riders that the cemetery was in bad shape, they responded by removing overgrown brush, painting memorial canons and pressure washing the grave markers, among other efforts that went a long way toward sprucing up the area.
The arrival of the Rough Riders in 1898 was a seminal moment in Tampa’s history, and many of those interred at Myrtle Hill had come from cities up North to fight with Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba. It’s important that their memories be respectfully preserved.
“These veterans are the men who created the fabric of Tampa,” said Kendall Stahl, whose great-grandfather is buried at Myrtle Hill. As the Tribune’s Elizabeth Behrman reported, many of the Rough Riders who came here to prepare for battle never left after the war ended.
The Rough Riders these days are a civic group dedicated to preserving the heritage of Roosevelt’s troops and the part Tampa played in the Spanish-American War.
Giving the memorial at Myrtle Hill a fresh look is a fitting way to honor the veterans who served their country and to maintaining this important piece of Tampa’s rich history.