Every Hero to Have s Wreath for the 9th Year in a Row at Sarasota National Cemetery
Sarasota's Wreaths Across American coordinator Meshia Richardson.says...“Our mission is to ensure that over 22,000 of our military members,(over 16,000 headstones) their spouses and their qualified dependents interred there will be honored again this year with the placement of live balsam wreaths.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Wreaths Across America is moving ahead with the December tradition of remembering every Hero and grave at our Sarasota National Cemetery.
This years, Wreaths Across America will be observed on 3 days, instead of just one. Thursday December 17th, Friday the 18th and19th. Because of the pandemic, there will be a virtual ceremony posted online Saturday, December 19th, via social media, YouTube and other websites.
To help keep people safe... Wreaths will be distributed to each vehicle at registration check in. No more than six people per larger vehicle will be permitted on cemetery grounds. Drivers will be directed to a pre-designated section where they will lay their wreaths. As each wreath is placed, participants will say the veteran’s name and thank them for their service and their sacrifice.
In 2011, my Dad's first holiday season at our Sarasota National Cemetery, I noticed there was a wreath on approximately every third headstone. That is when I first learned of the Wreaths Across America program. That following year, we began a mission to make people aware of the program to help gain support and donations, so that we could honor and remember, EVERY Hero.
Thank you to our incredibly generous community, every hero will once again be remembered in 2020 when a wreath is placed near each headstone. Many are not aware this is a national program, however, each location and cemetery are funded separately by local donations, within their community. Since many fundraisers were canceled due to the restrictions, driven by the pandemic many people reached out in other ways to gather donations. Numbers were still not on our side to ensure EVERY Hero was remembered this year. Then a surprise donation came from The Patterson Foundation, which built the beautiful "Patriot Plaza" on the grounds of The Sarasota National Cemetery.
Watch that amazing announcement here: https://www.facebook.com/Familyandfriendsofsarasotanationalcemetery2016/posts/1687884718043950
Things will be different this year, due to COVID-19. There will be no public "wreath ceremony", as their typically is, in December. Also the usual group wreath-laying event, will be replaced by a new and safer system, over 3 days, instead of one. .
Times have been set aside for family members to place wreaths. Families should email Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org with their loved one’s name, branch of service and section number, if known, so that the location will be reserved for family only.
Families and volunteers, must pre-register this year to volunteer, you can do that at this link www.sarasotawreaths.com