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James H. Mills Memorial

Veterans Memorial Park
Lakeland, Florida
Polk County

This site is located in the Central region of the state.


To reach Lakeland Center from I-4, exit on Kathleen road (Exit 17). At the traffic signal at the end of the ramp, turn left on Kathleen Road. Continue to Sikes Boulevard, bear right at the yield sign and turn right on Lime Street. The Lakeland Center is on the right. Veterans Memorial Park is located on the west side of the Center between Lemon and Lime Streets.

Located in Veterans Memorial Park west of the Lakeland Center, this 14 foot tall marble structure honors James H. Mills, one of seven Floridians to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Dedicated Memorial Day, 1998, Mills’ heroic actions are described on the bronze plaque mounted on the face of the monument. As an Army Private near Anzio, Italy on May 24, 1944, Mills demonstrated ”…conspicuous gallantly and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” Mills’ actions allowed his platoon to take its objective without casualties.

Tragically, a thief posing as a stranded motorist whom Mills had stopped to help murdered James Mills near Gainesville in 1973. Over a period of four years, friends and community members worked tirelessly to raise the necessary funds to erect this tribute.

The Florida Legislature designated a portion of the Polk County Parkway in Lakeland as the James Henry Mills Medal of Honor Parkway in further recognition of Mills’ heroic service to his country.