Since 1900, the United States has lost 65 submarines and more than 4,000 officers and crew who remain On Eternal Patrol. They will be honored this Memorial Day weekend with full military honors at the dedication of the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 27, at Ken Thompson Park, 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236.
The On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef is the first and only memorial dedicated to the entire submarine service in the environment where these servicemen rest – the ocean. The new reef will be a collection of 65 Eternal Reef balls with plaques identifying each of the submarines still On Eternal Patrol and one additional Eternal Reef ball representing those crews and boats lost in non-sinking incidents. The 66 Eternal Reefs will be deployed to the ocean floor off the coast of Sarasotathis summer to significantly boost the marine environment in which these submariners served and made the ultimate sacrifice.
A reef ball is a designed artificial reef, specifically engineered to mimic Mother Nature and quickly assimilate into the ocean environment; new marine growth begins in as little as three months. The reef balls in the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef each weigh about 1,300 pounds and stand three feet tall.
Many military service personnel and veterans from around the nation are expected to attend the dedication and the public is invited. In all, 25 governors have issued special recognition for the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef with proclamations, letters and certificates; they are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Scorpion (SSN-589) was the last submarine the United States lost on May 22, 1968, so, nearly 50 years ago to the day, it is an appropriate time to remember, honor and celebrate the history and sacrifice of the Silent Service.
“We can think of no more fitting memorial to these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country beneath the waves, and it’s particularly impactful that we will make the dedication at the 50-year anniversary of the loss of the Scorpion,” said George Frankel, Eternal Reefs CEO. “These submariners will continue to serve and protect our marine environment for the benefit of future generations in the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef.”
A Sarasota-based 501c3 memorial organization, Eternal Reefs Inc. has planned the ambitious project in partnership with Reef Innovations and The Reef Ball Foundation. View a video of the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef project, including a full listing of all submarines with their date of loss, on YouTube. Find a complete list of the 65 boats On Eternal Patrol and the boats lost in non-sinking events at www.OnEternalPatrol.com. Eternal Reefs is accepting outside funding to support the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef. Interested parties should call 888-423-7333 or email info@EternalReefs.com.