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Tribute at Sea to honor military, POW-MIA as a floating service

By Staff | Dec 10, 2009

Soldiers buried at sea will be honored this weekend as a one-of-a-kind ceremony takes place for the first time in the waters surrounding Cape Coral.
Tribute at Sea, a special floating service to honor military personnel, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday beginning at the Veterans Bridge and continuing down the Caloosahatchee to end in the Gulf of Mexico.
Organizer Nancy McCarn said this is the first time that a floating service has been offered in the United States through the Wreaths Across America program.
“We’re so proud to be a part of this for the first time in the United States, right here in Cape Coral,” she said.
The Wreaths Across America program was the brainchild of Morrill Worcester in 1992, with the donation and laying of 5,000 Christmas wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.
This became an annual journey for Worcester, who decided to take his efforts nationwide in 2005 after photos of the snow-covered wreaths hit the Internet.
Worcester is donating all the wreaths for the floating memorial, according to McCarn.
She said seven wreaths will be laid into the Gulf of Mexico to honor the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Merchant Marines and POW-MIA.
Several elected city officials will attend the ceremony, along with Marine units from the Cape police and fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who will accompany the boats down the river.
McCarn said that so far, a half-dozen civilian boats are taking part in the ceremony, and organizers welcome anyone in the boating community to tag along.
For those without boats, the procession will go by the Cape Coral Yacht Club pier, so onlookers have the chance to salute the fallen and pay their respects.
McCarn said she and her husband, Pat, are paying for the ceremony out of their own pocket in an effort to honor all branches of the armed services and the men in Pat’s family who served.
“We’ve had nothing but a great response so far,” she said. “We’re really excited.”