Patriotism runs deep in Virginia Beach, accompanied by a bloody legacy that locals would rather you forget. Take a USGA Tour to discover more, if you dare.
Many people associate Virginia Beach with cocktails in the sun and romance in the air. But the beautiful shoreline has brought much more to the city than tourism over the decades.
Due to a legacy of terrible storms and gale-force winds, the people of this coastal region have witnessed unending shipwrecks from their sandy shores.
Today, the Coast Guard and other military heroes are honored in the Naval Aviation Monument Park.
But beware: Wherever you find this many monuments to military heroism, it doesn’t take much digging before buried atrocities of the past bubble to the surface.
The Coast Guard has a long-standing history in the city, executing rescue missions to save victims from relentless waves and deadly wreckage. For over a century, the US military has held a prominent place in Virginia Beach’s heroic, sometimes hidden history.
In 1910, Eugene Ely was the first aviator to take off into flight from the deck of a ship, right in Hampton Roads. The waters off of Virginia Beach became a prominent training ground for brave military men and women practicing with aircraft carriers, ships, planes, submarines, and more. The military training in this region prepared aviators and soldiers for countless battles in all of the United States’ deadliest wars, from WW1 to Korea to Vietnam.
Dedicated in 2006 by the Hampton Roads Squadron of the Naval Aviation Foundation Association, the Naval Aviation Monument is, unsurprisingly, a key fixture of the park that shares its name. This monument, along with all the other bronze statues sprinkled throughout the park, honors the brave Americans who fought for their country.
But the more people Virginia Beach sent into battle, the more news of death returned to their shores. Many have said that terrified cries for mercy and sorrowful regrets for never returning home echo through the monument park, carried out to sea by those powerful gale-force winds.
In the park, you’ll find three bronze statues worth $1.5 million. They tell the tale of military heroism over time.
These statues memorialize the advancement of naval aviation, beginning in the late 1800s to World War II up to the modern day. The sculptor who designed the statues was a member of the Army National Guard himself.
Crafted by one of their own, spirits of those lost in battle inhabit these monuments. Look closely, if you dare, and you may see a tear streak down a bronze cheek.
Virginia Beach is a universally-loved vacation destination. But if you peel back the layers of patriotism of the Naval Aviation Monument Park, a darker, bloody history will appear. Dig a little deeper, if you dare, on a US Ghost Adventure Tour of haunted Virginia Beach.
Since 2013, US Ghost Adventures has offered entertaining, historic, and authentic ghost tours of America’s most haunted cities. We deliver fun yet honest accounts of hauntings across the nation for curious people of all ages. Our ghost stories are based on historical research, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send a chill down your spine.
US Ghost Adventures also offers virtual tours, a self-guided mobile app, and an Alexa voice app.