Events at Patriot Plaza honor veterans throughout the year

Events at Patriot Plaza honor veterans throughout the year

Posted on January 13, 2016 by Linda Gould, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Patriot Plaza has been the venue for a wide variety of activities over the past 18 months since The Patterson Foundation donated this extraordinary gift to our community and our nation. Since the Veterans Legacy Summit in November 2014, there have been at least 11 different events held at Patriot Plaza.

The Diocese of Venice holds an annual Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery, which has been in Patriot Plaza for the last two years. The annual Wreaths Across America ceremony, held on the second Saturday in December each year in national cemeteries across the country, has also found a home at Patriot Plaza. Other events include the annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the director of Sarasota National Cemetery.

In the summer of 2015, two major events were planned and hosted by community organizations -- one in June to celebrate Flag Day and one in August as part of the community celebration of the national Spirit of '45.

The Military Officers Association of Sarasota and The POPs Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota plan to continue hosting the Flag Day event at Patriot Plaza with the "Celebration of the Stars and Stripes" scheduled for Sunday, June 12, along with a new event, a Veterans Day Celebration currently scheduled for November 13, 2016.

One unique event held this year was the "Call to Honor" ceremony where unclaimed remains of eligible veterans and family members were interred at Sarasota National Cemetery following a moving memorial held in the amphitheater. As our community continues to creatively expand ways to honor veterans through events held at Patriot Plaza, new foundations have emerged to assist in the continued enjoyment and honoring of our flag and veterans. Through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Stars and Stripes Celebration continues to support the hosting of events at Patriot Plaza and throughout the community, in addition to supporting organizations that honor veterans.

With a seating capacity of 2,800, there is no doubt thousands will be touched by events held at Patriot Plaza. There are Patriot Plaza Guides, trained by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, at every event to assist attendees and guide visitors through the art, which makes this amphitheater a special public place. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and ensure they are aware of the rules and regulations for Sarasota National Cemetery before attending, which include no smoking, picnics or pets allowed within the national cemetery or Patriot Plaza. Anyone seeking information on how to host an event at Patriot Plaza can go to the Patriot Plaza website for a copy of the Patriot Plaza Events Guide.

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