Veterans Day – WWII, Veterans Day – Norris, and Veterans Day – memorial
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Veterans honored at Nov. 11 memorial ceremony

Shea Stanfield~ 11/19/2014

ANTHEM – The community honored veterans of the Vietnam War, World War II, and other wars at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Anthem Veterans Memorial.

Over 800 veterans, residents, and guests attended this year's Veterans Day ceremony.  Presented by the Anthem Community Council, Anthem Veterans Memorial Support Team, and hosted by the Daisy Mountain Veterans, this year's ceremony particularly honored Vietnam War veterans. This year marks 50 years since the beginning of the Vietnam conflict. 

Prior to the ceremony, WWII women veterans were honored with pavers commemorating their service.

Keynote addresses by Army Vietnam War combat veterans Jim Oliveri and Tom Francis reminded attendees of the many sacrifices veterans made in that war.

Oliveri, who was deployed in the early stages of the war, remembered, “I was in the dreaded A Shau Valley for several months during the summer of 1964. The A Shau was truly the most primeval place I have ever seen. Angry black clouds would boil up around midday, and violent thunderstorms punctuated by wild flashes of lightning would then sweep rapidly down the valley. It was eerie, almost supernatural in nature.” He continued that is was in A Shau that Sergeant Patience had graciously offered him to stay in his bunk while he went on patrol. Special Forces Sergeant Bill Patience was killed that day by a sniper's bullet. All the men "were reduced to tears" at the loss of their friend.

Tom Francis, US Army Special Forces, was deployed to Vietnam during the later years. Just shy of his 22nd birthday, he remembered, "After 34 days at sea, we landed.  I remember going over the side of the troop ship, scrambling down the cargo nets in full combat gear, dropping into a Navy Landing Craft which then sped away, the front gate dropping as that craft hit the shore, wide-eyed young soldiers with weapons at the ready spilling out at a full run and hitting the beach….having no earthly idea what might lie ahead."  Francis was in Vietnam continuously for four years, where he received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

The ceremony music was provided by 90 members of the Diamond Canyon School Choir under the direction of Caroline Kaupa. The National Anthem was sung by Mary Sue Hyatt of North Valley Arts Council. Tim Fyke, Council president, presented U.S. Army Lt. Colonel (Retired) Ray Norris the Veteran Service Award for outstanding service the community. The Sandra Day O'Connor Jr. AFROTC assisted throughout the ceremony.