Published: Dec 16, 2012 11:54 AM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The tombstones of more than 100,000 veterans are adorned with wreaths. Wreaths Across America pays tribute to those who have fought for this country. But here in Southwest Florida, there's a tribute unlike anywhere else.

Several boats raced three miles into the Gulf, Saturday morning. They paid tribute to the men and women who served. Seven wreaths were placed into the water, one for each branch of the military, along with the Merchant Marines and those last known to be Prisoners of War, Missing in Action.

"They have not only saved the United States, but have saved the world. God Bless them and God Bless America," said Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan, who spoke while aboard one of the many boats.

Wreaths Across America began 20 years ago, when wreaths were placed at Arlington National Cemetery. Since then, the program has expanded and on Saturday there were more than 750 ceremonies across the country, in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. But only one of them was on the water.

While the sermon on the boats is unique to southwest Florida, its mission is universally understood.

Next years event will be held on Saturday, December 14th.