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Patriot Plaza set to officially open

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- The community dedication for Patriot Plaza, the new amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery, is set for Saturday, and the new facility honors a legacy of military service.

Florida is home to more than 1.5 million U.S. military veterans, and more than 80,000 of them live on the Suncoast.

And now Sarasota has an enduring symbol of that legacy.

The 2,800-seat amphitheater is known as Patriot Plaza. It is the result of a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Patterson Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The design and construction of Patriot Plaza was fully funded by the Patterson Foundation, and will be donated to the Suncoast community and the National Cemetery administration during a special dedication ceremony on Saturday.

The plaza is a place for reflection, for our community to embrace the freedom that our veterans sacrificed to protect.

"Our goal was to create a strong symbolic place that would honor the veterans and would be an uplifting experience when you are here. So when we picked the materials, we tried to pick a design that was simple, it was centering, it honored the veterans, it honored the flag, and the place it was in.”

The special dedication of Patriot Plaza starts at 10am Saturday and will be hosted by ABC 7’s John Scalzi. And the amphitheater will soon be open for all to enjoy.

Sarasota National Cemetery is located on State Road 72, 4.5 miles east of Interstate 75.

Tickets for the event are sold out.

You can watch our Patriot Plaza preview show below.