SARASOTA -- Leaders from across the nation are scheduled to converge Nov. 14-15 in Sarasota during the Veterans Legacy Summit.
Appearances by New York Times best-selling author and U.S. Army combat veteran Wes Moore, journalist Soledad O'Brien, Forever Miss Americas, and the West Point Band are scheduled.
The conference, hosted by the Patterson Foundation, is designed to build cross-sector connections benefiting and honoring veterans and military families.
Patterson officials will share the public-private partnership model behind Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery, which was presented to the community during a dedication event
"Patriot Plaza's partnership model and the Legacy of Valor campaign have the potential to bring the benefits we've witnessed in our region to veterans and military families throughout the nation," said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of the Patterson Foundation, in a press release. "The Veterans Legacy Summit will give leaders from around the country the opportunity to learn the value of these partnerships and strategies to effectively use them in their own communities."
The $12-million ceremonial amphitheater, funded and designed by the Patterson Foundation, is the first time the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration partnered with a private foundation to work on an enhancement of this scale for a national cemetery.
Summit opens Nov. 14
The summit opens Nov. 14 with an art symposium bringing together Patriot Plaza artists and featured photojournalists. Attendees will also view movies illustrating the experiences of veterans and their loved ones during a bayfront film festival featuring "The War Comes Home," a documentary by O'Brien. The evening will conclude with a panel discussion on veterans issues featuring O'Brien and Moore.
On Nov. 15, attendees can examine veterans issues and services. After the workshops, participants can visit the Legacy Zone, an exhibition of national organizations from around the country connecting veterans and military families with the support and resources they need to carry out their missions at home and abroad.
The event will showcase burial services offered by the National Cemetery Administration to eligible veterans and family members. Only 12 percent of those eligible for interment are buried at the nation's 131 national cemeteries.
Several summit events are open to the public, including a community concert Nov. 16 at Patriot Plaza with the West Point Band.
The Veterans Legacy Summit is free to attend but registration is required.