SWFL families honor fallen soldiers in Wreaths Across America ceremony

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Families paid tribute to fallen Southwest Florida service members at a ceremony Saturday.

Wreaths Across America encourages cities across the country to place wreaths on the graves of men and women who lost their lives while serving in the United States military.

The ceremonies took place on land and at sea. The land ceremony took place at Tarpon Point Marina at 6179 Black Marlin Lane, and then headed out to the Gulf for the second ceremony.

This year, John Moletzy, who lost his son Jason in 2009, was joined by Thomas Jardas. Both parents lost their children on fatal flights: Jason Moletzy was a Coast Guard air crew member and Marine Cpl. Thomas “Tommy” Jardas was killed in January along with 11 others in a helicopter crash off the coast of Hawaii.

The fathers used the Gulf of Mexico as a metaphorical grave for nine soldiers, while the ceremony on land brought hundreds of community members together.

“We had no remains. All nine of them — that’s their designated burial site — 2500 feet below the Pacific surface,” Moletzy said. “Breaks your heart but you get lifted. You kinda get lifted with all the people supporting you, so you know you’re not alone.”

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