Photo: Patriot Plaza's 10th Anniversary

Patriot Plaza Honors Veterans and Embraces Our Freedoms

Posted on February 28, 2024 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

Editor's Note: This article, authored by Debra Jacobs, President and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, was originally published by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on February 28, 2024, page A12| A decade ago, The Patterson Foundation dedicated and celebrated the opening and gifting of Patriot Plaza to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Sarasota National Cemetery. Now, we are delighted to invite you to join us for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Patriot Plaza in the heart of the Sarasota National Cemetery on Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. The celebration will feature The Ditchfield Family Singers and Patriotic Sing-a-Longs, keynote thoughts from COL Linda Gould, US Army, RET, impact quotes shared by Maverick Johnson, CTQ Host of Maverick and Lulu in the Morning, and The Mighty Sarasota Military Academy Drumline. Please click here to RSVP.


Our nation's national cemeteries are the final resting places for those who serve our country with unmatched valor. In 2014, The Patterson Foundation gifted Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery, which features commissioned art that honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom, to the National Cemetery Administration.

The Patterson Foundation's investment in Patriot Plaza honors the Patterson family's history of military service as well as the commitment and sacrifice of all veterans and their families. The gift serves to strengthen how our region honors those who served in our nation's armed forces.

But in addition to being a landmark moment for Sarasota National Cemetery, the 10th anniversary of Patriot Plaza has layers of historical and patriotic significance; it also reflects the major historical context of the Chicago Tribune's support for Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860 – and Lincoln's subsequent founding of America's national cemetery system.

This intertwining of media influence, leadership, and national memory underscores the deep roots of service and remembrance that Patriot Plaza celebrates and the spirit of patriotism that it inspires through its unique architectural structure and commissioned artwork.

All of these elements not only highlight the nation's military history; they also integrate our community's focus on the arts with the Patterson family's tremendous and transformative legacy in journalism and the media – which includes supporting newspapers (the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News), broadcast outlets (WGN-TV in Chicago) and social media innovation (the family made an early investment in America Online, better known as AOL).

It should also be noted that The Patterson Foundation's establishment of an endowment, administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, ensures that Patriot Plaza remains a lasting tribute without relying on tax dollars. This is a pioneering private-public partnership that serves more than 90,000 veterans across Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties, and it makes a significant contribution to our area's commitment to veterans.

The 10th Anniversary Celebration of Patriot Plaza – titled 'Recognizing Ten Years of Honoring Veterans, Inspiring Patriotism and Embracing Freedom' – will take place at Sarasota National Cemetery on Saturday, March 2, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

The public is invited, and there is no cost to attend. Guests are requested to register online by March 2. Visit thepattersonfoundation.org for more information.

This event is an opportunity to show our collective appreciation of the service and sacrifices made to secure our freedom. Let us join together to celebrate this symbol of commitment – one that ensures the legacy of our veterans is forever remembered and honored.

Patriot Plaza 10th Anniversary

 

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Patriot Plaza was dedicated on June 28, 2014, in front of more than 3,000 community members and dignitaries. To mark the 10th anniversary, The Patterson Foundation is hosting an event at Patriot Plaza to honor community members who have made sacrifices for our country.

“Recognizing Ten Years of Honoring Veterans, Inspiring Patriotism and Embracing Freedom,” will be held at the Sarasota National Cemetery on Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. The ceremony will feature patriotic performances by The Ditchfield Family Singers and The Mighty Sarasota Military Academy Drumline and inspiring words from COL Linda Gould, US Army, (Retired), and Maverick Johnson, CTQ Host of Maverick and Lulu in the Morning.

The public is invited, and there is no cost to attend. Guests are requested to register online by March 2: Patriot Plaza 10th Anniversary RSVP. Parking is limited. Carpooling is encouraged.


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