Published: Jul 05, 2013 12:51 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 05, 2013 12:59 AM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The skies over southwest Florida were booming Thursday night with fireworks displays. One of the biggest was over the Cape Coral Bridge at the annual Red, White and Boom.

This year's Red, White and Boom started off with several booms... of thunder!

"It rains every year," Anita Rummel said. "I'm used to it. The show will go on."

It would take more than a downpour to rain on this party. Cape Coral Parkway sizzled with 4th of July staple foods and moved to the beat of country music.

Amid the celebration, one group wanted everyone to remember the American heroes aren't home due to deployment.
They're raising money to build a first-of-its-kind Iraq war monument right in Cape Coral.

"To honor everybody who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2011," Iraq vet Michelle Rosenberger said. "We will be honoring every service member who served, was wounded and killed in action. This is all to honor them and preserve freedom because freedom is not free."

The monument, which will include pieces from the World Trade Center, was designed by Xavier Panero from Gulf Coast Middle School and selected by veterans. Panero was honored onstage by Mayor John Sullivan.

"This is for everybody," Rosenberger said. "We are also going to have on the top of the star, dog tags of people who served in the area, including the four killed in action from Lee County."

When the sun went down, the sky over the Caloosahatchee exploded with bright streaks of color, a spectacular symbol why we celebrate.

Groundbreaking for that Iraq war monument will begin sometime over the next ten days. In the meantime, they need your help, not just with donations.
If you're an Iraq veteran, they want you to contact them so they can include your name. For more information, go to or e-mail