Van Wezel Tour Nov 30, 2018

Ron WozniakDear Bobbie Hamilton,

We want to thank you for organizing a fabulous tour of the Van Wezel art and backstage for the Military Officers Association, Sarasota Chapter (MOAS) Young at Heart Officers Organization (YAHOO).

Everything went smoothly and everyone expressed their gratitude for such an enlightening educational event at this wonderful Sarasota entertainment gem. It was a good turnout with 20 MOAS members and spouses attending.

Linda and I made it a point, that you did all the work, and you should be the one to receive their praises.

We are so blessed to have someone of your caliber in our organization. Thanks Ed for loaning Bobbie out to us.

Dear Cindy Woodling,

Of course a boatload of the work was done by you and the other Van Wezel volunteers.

Thank you so much, and the others, for the time and energy you put into making our tour a memorable experience.
We certainly will pass the word to the rest of our MOAS membership, that they really missed out, and we will hopefully have the opportunity to do this again next year.


We hope you also enjoyed the post-tour lunch at Indigo Hotel’s H2O Bristo…we did.

As it turned out we had 17 attending lunch. We thought the waitress Terry did a great job serving us.

Bobbie chose the venue, and we are sorry she could not stay for the entire tour and lunch.

See, we should have taken the group picture at the start!
Somehow Craig Hullinger will have to figure a way to photo shop Bobbie in.

Woz & Linda Wozniak
YAHOO Co-coordinators
Cell: 941-779-5448

Click for more Photos

Ron Wozniak (via Google Photos)

Patriot Plaza Newsletter

Patriot Plaza Newsletter 
November 29, 2018


We are having a warm fall here in our region - Visitors and student tours abound at Patriot Plaza! Students from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Desoto County School systems are able to visit Patriot Plaza through the EdExploreSRQ program, available to students from elementary to high school, as well as all 8th grade Civics classes. Transportation for these school tours is funded by The Patterson Foundation. Click here to read about the "Boot Camp" many 8th grade Civics and Science teachers participated in as they gathered first hand knowledge of what their students will experience while touring the amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery. The tours of the art and architecture of Patriot Plaza given to the students and to the public are made larger than life by the stories and details provided by the trained Patriot Plaza guides.

Four years ago this month Patriot Plaza was gifted to the nation by The Patterson Foundation through a series of events in Sarasota that included an Art Walk at the Ringling Museum of Art, the Veterans Legacy Summit - a series of speakers and workshops, and a Film Festival at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The week long celebration culminated with the memorable Celebrate Service and Sacrifice program held at Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. The ceremony included representation from the White House and music from the US Military Academy Band from West Point. The West Point band gave a bonus performance by staying an additional day to give a free concert to the community.


There are many ways and reasons to spend time experiencing Patriot Plaza. Perhaps you have a loved one whose final resting place is Sarasota National Cemetery, or you are a student learning more about what a veteran is and what it means to serve and sacrifice, or perhaps enjoy sharing stories and a lasting tribute to veterans with your family, friends and neighbors. Read our recent blog to learn more. 

Patty and her family recently buried her husband Bill at Sarasota National Cemetery. With family and friends still in town they came back to experience Patriot Plaza. They found comfort in the different art depictions and photographs, evoking stories and memories of service and family. 

Sandhill Preserve Neighbors on a Guided Tour
Mike Loparco is an experienced Patriot Plaza Guide who first volunteered at Sarasota National Cemetery and then received training from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County to give tours to visitors, students, friends, family and neighbors. Last year Mike brought his neighbors to Patriot Plaza to share his respect and knowledge of this lasting tribute to veterans. The neighborhood enjoyed the experience of getting together and experiencing Patriot Plaza so much that now it's an annual tradition. 

Rick Miners, Jeri Sedlar and Andrea Nierenberg
Whether in town for a short or long visit, there is always time to share this unique and lasting tribute to veterans. In town from New York, the Keynote Speaker for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institue 2018 Boomer Conference, Jeri Sedlar and her husband Rick Miners, an Army veteran, along with new Sarasota resident, Andrea Nierenberg, thoroughly enjoyed a Patriot Plaza tour given by Linda Gould. The group spent an hour exploring and then stayed longer to absorb the artwork, photographs and architecture. 

Photographers find special interest in the imagery at Patriot Plaza that date back from the Civil War to the present. Recently Bob Baribeau from Naples, Florida visited to experience Patriot Plaza for the first time. What fascinating stories our visitors bring us! Bob's Uncle Roland as a member of the Filthy Thirteen group of the 101st Army Airborne. Hollywood would later dub the group for the sake of the movie, The Dirty Dozen. The Filthy Thirteen were considered the baddest of the bad and were dispatched to the toughest and most dangerous assignment in Europe. Roland was bi-lingual, having been born in Canada, and was especially valuable in wartime France and thus was the inspiration of the character "Frenchie" in the Dirty Dozen film.  His nickname in the actual F-13 squad was Frenchie.  There is some conflict in the recorded dates of his death behind enemy lines. The Normandy Cross indicates June 21st and FDR's citation indicates June 26th, 1944. He was 29 years old. Bob's father, Bert, was 37 years old when he joined the Navy Seabees in early 1944. He was stationed in the South Pacific and returned home after the end of the war.  Both brothers served at the same time.


Share this newsletter with friends, family, and co-workers. To be added to the distribution, send your request to Linda Gould at

Follow and "Like" our  Legacy of Valor Facebook page for inspirational and informative posts covering national and local topics concerning veterans.


Please share your experiences after visiting Patriot Plaza by sending your stories to Linda Gould at


Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery is available free of cost for you and the community to use for events honoring veterans.

Events at Patriot Plaza need to:
1) Be free and open to the public
2) Honor veterans
3) Maintain the dignity of a national cemetery

Download the Event Hosting Guidelines and contact John Rosentrater, Sarasota National Cemetery Director at or (941) 922-7200 to request holding an event at Patriot Plaza.

Click here to learn more about Sarasota National   Cemetery.

Public tours of Patriot Plaza are currently conducted every Tuesday at 10am, except on federal holidays. Private group and school tours can be scheduled Monday through Friday. 

Through a partnership with The Patterson Foundation and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Guides are recruited from the Sarasota National Cemetery (SNC) volunteers and trained on the history and meaning of the art elements at Patriot Plaza to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of service and sacrifice.

Tours are free and open to everyone who is interested. To schedule a group or school tour, contact the Arts Education Manager for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, (941) 365-5118, x301 or


Civics class students from Sarasota Middle School with Patriot Plaza Guide Jim Robinson
Sarasota Middle School Civics students visited Patriot Plaza with their classmates as part of a program with all 8th grade Civics classes in Sarasota County Schools. Half the class goes to Twin Lakes Park with the University of Florida/Extension to learn about recycling, earth sciences and water, while the other half visits Patriot Plaza as a means of emphasizing citizenship, participating in their community and voluntary service. The classes switch locations after lunch so the entire group can experience both places. Mrs Lisa Schuerholz-Winters, a Civics teacher, told us that the students enjoy the art integration, interpretation and especially the photographs. The three Patriot Plaza Guides giving the tours that day, Jim Robinson, Ed Gates and Frank Quinn made the art and architecture come alive with their stories and explanations of the artwork while still allowing personal interpretation. Science teacher Robin Murphy was interested that Patriot Plaza was helping her answer science questions from the students about the light and sound acoustics in the amphitheater and why the marble benches felt cool to the touch even in the sunlight. 


This year's Veterans Day Mass was hosted by the Diocese of Venice and attended by over 1500 people from the community. The Knights of Columbus once again provided an excellent program that was enjoyed by all. The Veterans Day service is always open to the public and honors all veterans of any religious faith. Special thanks to Terry Longpre for his endless talent and constant willingness to take photographs that capture timeless moments at Patriot Plaza.


Sarasota National Cemetery
Saturday, December 15
The program will begin at 10am followed by the laying of the wreaths first by family members and then by the community