Photo courtesy of Anthem Community Council
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Fifth annual Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial draws record crowd
ANTHEM – The largest crowd in the Anthem Veterans Memorial’s five-year existence gathered on Veterans Day to pay their respects to the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. The event was larger in scale than in previous years, in honor of the fifth anniversary celebration of the Memorial.
The ceremony commenced with a historic aircraft flyover and the National Anthem; an Anthem-area youth choir with 300 voices strong was assembled especially for the event. The Veterans Service Award was presented to Liz Turner for her extraordinary work with the AVM.
Anthem resident Josh Miller, USMC, spoke about his service in the Gulf War. His “Veteran’s Perspective” provided the audience insight into the life of an American soldier during wartime.
Military members, both retired and active duty from all five branches, honored combat veterans and their families from each of the wars in the nation’s history. Lt. Col. John Simmons, United States Air Force (Retired), served as the Master of Ceremonies, and was accompanied by the Sandra Day O’Connor Jr. Air Force ROTC, who stood guard at the Memorial.
Hundreds of spectators enjoyed a fundraiser pancake breakfast, organized by St. Rose Knights of Columbus. A “Thank a Veteran” card writing station was a popular spot for event-goers; cards were hand made to show appreciation for those who served and were hand-delivered to veterans in attendance.
Admiral Paul David Miller, United States Navy (Retired), delivered the keynote address. Adm. Miller served as the Director of Naval Warfare on the staff of Chief of Naval Operations. He became Commander of the Atlantic Fleet after receiving his fourth star. He served as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Atlantic until his retirement.
At exactly 11:11 a.m., the sun shone through the five ellipses of the AVM and a spotlight was cast on the Great Seal of the United States as a thunderous flyover, provided by the Luke Air Force Base F-16 Fighting Falcons, filled the air. “Stars and Stripes Forever,” performed by ProMusica Arizona, rang out across the grounds.
The Anthem Veterans Memorial was dedicated Nov. 11, 2011, and received Arizona Historic Landmark status six months later. Fundraising and the sale of pavers in the Circle of Honor continue. To donate or learn more, visit OnlineAtAnthem.com/AVM.