The Suncoast is embracing Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery

The Suncoast is embracing Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery

Posted on September 04, 2015 by Linda Gould, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

The Suncoast region is embracing Patriot Plaza and the momentum for planning and hosting events there is growing! This summer saw two major events at Patriot Plaza -- one in June to celebrate Flag Day and another in August as part of the community celebration of the national Spirit of '45 commemoration. Both of these events bring to life the intent of The Patterson Foundation’s gift to our community and to the nation.

Our community has stepped forward and fully embraced this unique and lasting tribute to our veterans and is using it to celebrate that service and sacrifice. While June 2014 brought the Community Dedication of Patriot Plaza, June 2015 brought two community partners together --the Military Officers Association of Sarasota and The POPs Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota. The partners hosted a "Celebration of the Stars and Stripes" -- a tribute to our nation’s flag.

The attendance of this event was equal to that of the community dedication a year ago with 3,000 people, many from outside our region. Attendees brought their families, their camp chairs and their patriotism to listen, learn and enjoy the history of the American Flag with musical accompaniment from one of our region’s stellar orchestras. This event resulted in a foundation being formed, the Stars and Stripes Celebration, in order to continue to host this event at Patriot Plaza and to support organizations that honor veterans.

The most recent event held at Patriot Plaza was the final event in a weekend celebrating the national Spirit of '45 and the August commemoration of the ending of WWII. This movement is intended to take us all back to the spirit and camaraderie felt in our country during a time when we came together as a nation -- strong, independent but caring about our community and others, whether it was supporting our military or simply each other. Many individuals and organizations collaborated to coordinate, host and sponsor all the events that took place here in our community for the Spirit of '45. The weekend’s closing memorial ceremony held at Patriot Plaza was well attended and ensures that future events will be greeted with much anticipation!

The lessons learned from both the community dedication of Patriot Plaza and the Veterans Legacy Summit hosted by The Patterson Foundation here in Sarasota in November 2014 have been absorbed by our community and the number of events being developed to take place at Patriot Plaza is increasing rapidly. Our community continues to show how interested and enthusiastic they are to attend these celebrations that honor veterans, inspire patriotism and embrace freedom.

Patriot Plaza is a lasting tribute honoring our veterans, and also highlights the importance of burial services provided to our heroes and their families. A constant flow of visitors from all over the country is spreading the word about this wonderful gift. Just take a look at some recent Trip Advisor comments about the space. We are lucky to have such an inspiring tribute to veterans here in our community and the donation of Patriot Plaza will remain a gift in perpetuity to our region and the nation.

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