Deadline approaching for Memorial Day Tribute Banners
With Memorial Day around the corner, the Southwest Florida Military Tribute Banner Program is offering a way to honor any former or current member of the military in Cape Coral.
These military tribute banners will be displayed on light poles along Cape Coral Parkway starting just before Memorial Day, with service personnel being depicted on a full-color 30-inch by 60-inch vinyl ensign.
“This is a way to recognize individuals that served honorably in war or peace time,” said Program Director of the Military Tribute Banners, Michael Martin.
This program started in Cape Coral on Memorial Day of 2016, after a Cape resident saw another town do a similar service for its vets. Before, these banners were to go inside the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library. Now, they are keeping a close watch over Cape Coral Parkway.
The banners will fly for approximately 90 days before being returned to the sponsor, whether that be the family or business who chose to honor an active, former or deceased service member.
Monetary donations help support two Cape Coral non-profits as a thank you, the DAV James D. Rader Post #108 and the AMMILVETS Foundation.
The Southwest Florida Military Tribute Banner Program only endorses local non-profit organizations who are dedicated to serving military and veteran communities.
“We work with programs that help our local military,” said Martin.
“We meet with them and see their organization in action. They’re doing excellent work. We look for places that have a good track record of serving the military in Southwest Florida. They help get the word out to find sponsors.”
Sponsorships can be made by either a family or business to honor a loved one, with a family discount available.
These banners will include a photo of the military member (usually in uniform), their name, branch, years served, any major wars served in, any major awards or medals and the sponsors name at the bottom.
The back of the banner will read: “To all of our veterans, active-duty military & those preparing today to serve our nation tomorrow, we thank you.”
Martin says the Cape hung about 50 banners last year, and wants to keep those numbers this year as well.
“This is a great way to bring the community out to honor an individual. This helps honor active and past military members and see who in the community has served our country. This also helps to recognize DAV Post #108 and the AMMILVETS Foundation, who provide so many great resources to our veterans in Southwest Florida. These are truly worthy causes.”
The banners themselves can make a keepsake to hang in your home or business after it is time for them to come down.
“I’ve seen business hang banners they’ve sponsored in their shops for years and years. And for families, it’s a way to dust off some old photo albums and relive some history. We find a lot of the old photos fascinating,” Martin said.
If a business who does not have an in particular veteran in mind, but wants to be part of this program, a local veteran whose family may not have the money to honor a loved one will be chosen to adorn that banner.
The Military Tribute Banner project has spread to other parts of the country as well, including other parts of Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts and New York.
“We’ve had a couple people come to Cape Coral on vacation and bring this idea with them back up north, including a community right near West Point in New York, so that’s pretty cool,” said Martin.
Banners for family members are $275 and $350 for businesses.
Anyone not able to be a sponsor at this time can potentially be later on in the year, as they provide the same service just before Veterans Day in November.
Those interested in being a sponsor for this Memorial Day can place an order at militarytributebanners.com. When ordering, select either the Cape Coral Parkway program DAV or AMMILVETS foundation to contribute to.
Deadline for banner sponsorship is May 21.