At 11 p.m. April 7, the cannon outside of the Vaughn Center was re-dedicated to the legacy of America’s win in the Spanish-American War. The cannon symbolizes the presence of American troops in Tampa, as well as the Tampa Bay Hotel’s use as a pivotal base for officials.
A handful of ROTC students from UT marched to salute this symbol.
Sophomore Stephanie Pavlich opened the event by singing the national anthem, preceding a brief history of American involvement in the Spanish-American War.
Tampa’s legendary Mambisas, Buffalo Riders and Buffalo Soldiers were represented at the event.
“The campus is littered with historical facts from over the past 75 years, and a lot of people don’t know this,” UT Spokesperson Grant Donaldson said.
The cannon points toward Cuba, a pivotal location in the war. Although this cannon never saw use, another cannon stood before the current one. The first cannon did see use at Fort Dane and was put in place after World War II.
Coming from Fort Dane, the old cannon was shipped to England and replaced by the current one in the late ’70s. The current cannon was brought in from Fort Morgan in Alabama.
“I think it is a part of the fabric that makes the University interesting,” Donaldson stated regarding the cannon.
Refurbishing the cannon is a bi-yearly event and is refurbished every one to two years. The process took 100 hours this year, due mainly to the buildup of rust which is not easy to remove.
A special product, tannic acid, is combined with primer to get rid of the rust. Afterwards, the cannon is repainted “airplane gray.”
The primer is donated from Loctite, an international company who has donated supplies to the Rough Riders for 10 years.
William Nehls, a member of the Rough Riders, directed the refurbishing process of the cannon.