Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery

When looking at our nation’s history, many of our most courageous and defining moments are memorialized through our national parks and cemeteries.  All across the U.S., you will find memorials dedicated to the men and women of our nation’s armed forces commemorating their efforts in wars, conflicts, and domestic tragedies.  Florida is home to six national cemeteries and countless war memorials, one of which resides in Sarasota.

Dedicated on June 1st, 2008, The Sarasota National Cemetery broke ground on a 295 acre publicly acquired plot of land.  Its configuration accommodates 18,200 casket gravesites, and 7,200 columbaria, with an additional 9,000 in-ground cremains. Up close, the many flat white marble headstones in contrast to the well manicured grass feel reflective of a well trained regiment, uniformed and impeccable in its order.  Around every corner, you’ll find a statue, quote, or installation that reminds us of the sacrifice these patriots made and the respect they deserve.

The cemetery was strategically planned in a circular pattern with each branch of the military occupying its own dedicated, pie-like portion of the grounds. Each segment diverges from a centrally located amphitheater named Patriot’s Plaza, which has a beautiful curved roof made of 792 glass panels. This Plaza is a one of a kind; of the 141 national cemeteries, there is no other one that hosts such an impressive outdoor structure. The entrances to the amphitheater are further adorned with massive bronze bald eagles.  Other art installations include photographs, testimonials, and a colorful glass mosaic.   If you’re interested in learning more about the various artworks within Patriot Plaza you can schedule a guided tour or drop by the onsite visitor’s center.

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