I'm Oliver Webber, here with my research assistant, Kaydence Ribetnauer. You may not be able to see us because we're tucked in between these blades of grass, waiting for our next meal to fly in and land on one of them. To nourish our bodies and souls, we ponder leaves. We encourage contemplation... especially in regard to issues that will have to be handled when we become worm grub. We hope to motivate others to thoughtfully cultivate preferences and decisions while still vigorously leaping around. We recommend croaking... using voices to broadcast wishes before it's too late to have a voice in this matter. Other than a sumptuous supply of insects, this is assuredly the most "toad-ally" considerate gift we could leave for our life companions! Don't you agree? We invite you to get your feet wet by joining our pond of pondering pre-planners. Let's make croaking meaningful!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

National Cemetery AMPHITHEATER

A Fly'Bye Lady Visit In Sarasota, Florida


Something other than a congregation of souls is rising heavenward at the Sarasota National Cemetery.  Dubbed Patriot Plaza, a commanding symbol of salute in the form of a ceremonial amphitheater – the first of its kind – is under construction.   

Design and development of the $10 million legacy initiative was conceived and fully funded by the Patterson Foundation, inspired by newspaper heirs, James and Dorothy Patterson, who have a long history of military service within their family.  Their masterpiece will be donated to the National Cemetery Administration during a dedication scheduled for June 28th of this year, 2014. 

The impressive height of the structure dominates the expansive burial grounds that are dotted by memorial stones, occasional committal shelters, and columbaria structures. 

A fifty-foot-tall roof was raised into position by 2 cranes. 

Currently, bare bones of the skeletal framework are being dressed with plates of green glass. 

There will be permanent seating for one thousand people, and additional room for eighteen hundred more.  A bandstand was designed to accommodate a fifty-five-piece orchestra. 

At least ten events a year are envisioned.  Visitors to the cemetery will be permitted to tour the arena site. 

Artwork for Patriot Plaza will include statues, inspirational quotes, and photos of veterans and their families. While recognizing individuals who served in the Armed Forces, their stories will be preserved for future generations.  Local and national artists responded to the call for relevant pieces that would meet standards and preserve memories through art. 

Sentinel Eagles will be at the entrance to Patriot Plaza to “help create a beautiful, majestic entrance that is both imposing and intimate.”

“The east entrance to Patriot Plaza is a transitional space between the cemetery at large and the side of the ceremonial amphitheater dedicated to themes of family and community that honor military service.”

“The stage is a focal point for Patriot Plaza. The 50’ x 3’ mosaic on the front of the stage depicts an imaginary landscape of Earth, Air, and Water in which all five branches of the military carry out their work around the world.”

“This is the first time a private foundation is partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to work on an enhancement of this complexity at a national cemetery.”  They intend to share their partnership model with communities associated with any of the country's one hundred thirty-one national cemeteries – if interested in considering similar projects.

With each annual visit to the Sarasota National Cemetery, the Fly’Bye Lady observes signs of progress.  The modern facilities are uplifting, and there appears to be considerable potential for expansion. So all ye snowbird veterans hanging out in the Sarasota environs might want to meander over to Clark Road for a peek at the possibilities. 

               Quoted segments from:  http://patriotplaza.thepattersonfoundation.org/

Thursday, May 8, 2014


A Fly'Bye Lady Visit in Florida



Amidst the quiet calm of a cemetery, the sound of chimes would seem especially riveting.  Architects must have shared that impression, as structures housing bells are prominent features at certain cemeteries and memorial parks. 

Sometimes a columbarium is part of such a structure.  At the Garden of Memories, the Chimes Tower is a focal point central to the grounds.

It exceeds five stories, crowning the first columbarium for cremated remains ever built by a cemetery.

Similar formations in other parts of the country serve the same purpose, to varying degrees. The Chimes Tower at the Whitemarsh Memorial Park in Ambler, Pennsylvania is a commanding attraction, though access to the 174-foot edifice these days is restricted due to safety concerns.  Glass-fronted niches seen upon entering can be visited only during office hours, as a key to the building is required for entry.  People are no longer permitted to use the elevator to reach the top. Against the exterior back wall of the tower, though, there are additional columbarium niches that can be accessed at any time. 

Nowadays, one might encounter a columbarium in a churchyard or on a college campus. At the Citadel military school in Charleston, South Carolina, it is situated in the campus bell tower that houses a carillon made in the Netherlands.  A wall was built in the lower part of the structure to accommodate four hundred niches with enough room in each for two urns. Members of the Class of 1957 initiated the project, and the columbarium was dedicated in November 2007 during the school’s Homecoming activities.  By purchasing niche spaces, alumni help maintain the carillon – one of the western hemisphere’s largest collection of Dutch bells, featuring a set of fifty-nine that are played by a keyboard in the bell tower. This source of income also funds scholarships for students who play the instrument, and some of it is pegged for construction of a second floor in the edifice to provide practice space for those interested in learning the art.  The bell tower housing the cremated remains of alumni is now considered to be a true memorial.  

Under such circumstances as these, “resting in peace” may be amidst melodic interludes!