Published: Dec 12, 2010 2:25 AM EST
Updated: Dec 11, 2010 11:26 PM EST

GULF OF MEXICO - A nationwide event honoring veterans took to the high seas off Southwest Florida Saturday.

The 'Wreaths Across America' event was one of just two across the country paying respect and tribute to veterans with a heart warming ceremony at sea.

Nearly two dozen boats from across Southwest Florida made their way out into the Gulf of Mexico Saturday morning.  Rememberance wreaths honored veterans whose gravesites are not in cementaries, but at sea.
     
The event was just one of more than 500 across the country honoring our veterans this weekend.

The ashes of Dennis Sander, 66, were also scattered at sea.  The Vietnam veteran served as an honor guard for President Kennedy's funeral and was a pall bearer for General MacArthur.  He died in Pennsylvania, but his family wanted a burial at sea here in Southwest Florida.

The event was even more touching for 88 year old Dorothy Kurtz.   67 years ago she joined the Coast Guard as one of the first women to enlist and on Saturday she was back out at sea on-board the Coast Guard cutter 'Marlin'.

"I had no idea it was going to be so moving and so awesome. It has just been the most wonderful experience I've ever had," Kurtz said.  "And I've been around a lot."

Pat and Nancy McCarn of Cape Coral organized the event and say the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming.

"Everyone has been at the drop of a dime - they're there. You just ask and there's no hesitation - they're there."

Today was the second year the ceremony has taken place at sea.  Organizers are already planning next year's event to include larger charter boats to take more veterans to the event.