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Operation: Tribute At Sea to be staged Dec. 11

By Staff | Nov 19, 2010

Saturday, Dec. 11, is the date for the second annual Operation: Tribute At Sea, a memorial ceremony off the Gulf shore honoring veterans buried or lost at sea.

The event held on the second Saturday in December (declared by Congress in 2008 and 2009 as “WAA Day”) will continue as a part of the national Wreaths Across America ceremonies. In 2009, some 160,000 sponsored wreaths were placed on the gravesites of our nations heroes at over 400 locations stateside and 24 National Veterans Cemeteries on foreign soil.

Captain Pat McCarn and his wife, Nancy, of Cape Coral Canal Charters in Cape Coral, conceived Operation: Tribute At Sea. The charter company provides recreational and business tours of Cape Coral’s famed canal system, as well as operating Rainbow Memorials At Sea.

In 2009, the McCarns contacted Morrill Worcester at Worcester Wreath in Maine, who originated Wreaths Across America (a non-profit group) and explained their concept. Operation: Tribute At Sea was quickly designated as the first official floating location with WAA.

Appropriately, the ceremony begins at Veterans Memorial Bridge at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, with a flotilla lead by USCG Auxiliary 9-10 of Cape Coral, which will then proceed down the Caloosahatchee River to the Gulf of Mexico.

On board will be seven WAA ceremonial bio-degradable wreaths adorned with poinsettias representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW-MIAs. The ceremony will take place simultaneously at noon, along with state, national and local participating cemeteries of Wreaths Across America.

The original officiating members of the first years Operation: Tribute At Sea will return for the second annual event. They include Ch. Col. Larry Ager (U.S. Army Reserve, Retired), who will be on board officiating the ceremony. Officer Kevin Taylor and Officer Mike Anderson of the Cape Coral Police Department will provide bugle and bagpipe support concluding the event with “Taps.”

Among those participating to date in Operation: Tribute At Sea are members of the Cape Coral Police Dept. and Cape Coral Volunteer Police Marine Divisions, Lee County Sheriff’s Dept., Fort Myers Police Dept. Marine Division, U.S. Coast Guard, USCG Auxiliary 9/10 of Cape Coral, Sea Tow and Tow Boat.

The boating community is invited to participate in the event by joining the flotilla as it moves down the river. VHF channels 16 and 72 will be monitored. Those that live along shore are invited to wave flags and offer a moment of remembrance as the flotilla passes by. The event can also be viewed from the Cape Coral Yacht Club fishing pier at approximately 10:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Pat or Nancy McCarn of Cape Coral Canal Charters at 239-673-8749 or visit www.capecharters.net.