Community comes through for Wreath Across America Ceremony at Sarasota's National Cemetery

10:56 PM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Time running out for wreaths on veterans' gravesites

 


 


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Sarasota, Florida-- UPDATE: Colonel Bill Brockman tells 10 News thanks to the community's generosity, the National Cemetery in Sarasota will have enough wreaths for each of the 6,750 grave sites of military men and women. 

On Friday the cemetery was about 3,000 Remembrance Wreaths short for this year's Wreaths Across America Ceremony set for December 14th.

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During your weekend of shopping and giving thanks you may want to remember our military. The National Cemetery in Sarasota needs help making sure there is a wreath on each gravesite this holiday season. Organizers say time is running out as Monday is the deadline for donations.

"We need to recognize all of them," says Retired Colonel Bill Brockman a Vietnam vet.

In a wide open field out in east Sarasota County a daily breeze caresses each marble tombstone where Sue Shkrab visits her father Sgt. Steve Dulick with her son and brother.

"He was a Bombardier in WWII and flew in over 30 successful missions," she explains.

Family members say Dulick served in the United States 8th Air Force during WWII as a member of the 303rd bomb group known as the Hell's Angels. Dulick received the Flying Cross and the Three Oak Leaf Clusters air medals.

"He was a symbol of strength and honor. He stood for everything that had valor, value and meaning and morality," says Josh Shkrab, Dulick's grandson.

On Dec. 14, Sue's flowers should be replaced with an evergreen wreath of remembrance with a red bow representing courage.

Sue recalls last year wreath ceremony.

"It is stunning when you see every gravesite with a wreath."

PHOTOS: Wreaths Across America 2012 ceremony at Sarasota's National Cemetery

But this year there may not be enough to go around for each of the 6,700 and 50 gravesites.

"We're somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 short," says Brockman who helps organize Sarasota's Wreaths Across America program at the National Cemetery. "It's a program that started several years ago with the mission is to honor, to remember and to teach."

Last year, each gravesite had a wreath many placed by children and teenagers.

"This is our opportunity to teach them freedom is not freedom," Brockman says.

If on Dec. 14 there are no wreaths for each gravesite here at the National Cemetery in Sarasota volunteers say they will take the wreaths they have, lay them out to fill up each section and when they run out, that tombstone is where they will begin laying wreaths next year.

"How can you decide? Every one of these veterans served our country," Sue says.

"We need to recognize all of them. We need to thank all of them," says Brockman.

Each wreath costs $15. The deadline for donations is Monday, Dec. 2. One can go to www.waasarasota.com to donate.

Isabel Mascarenas

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