Changing of the guard at the Anthem Veterans Memorial

Date Modified: Fri, 12/30/2016 - 12:24pm

With a record crowd on hand, the Anthem Veterans Memorial (AVM) commemorated five years in the community during the Nov. 11 Veterans Day Ceremony. An impressive list of speakers, Luke Air Force Base F-16s, historic planes and special music marked the occasion. Liz Turner, who has been involved with the Memorial since its inception, was presented the Veterans Service Award for her unmatched commitment to veterans and their families through AVM education, programming and fundraising.

Just a few weeks later, the final pavers of 2016 were laid in the Circle of Honor before the calendar turned on the celebratory year. But Turner was not there, the way she always has been, at every paver laying since the Circle was installed. That’s because she has passed the torch. Beginning in 2017, the ACC, with the Anthem Veterans Memorial Support Team (AVMST), will plan and execute the ceremonies, paver layings, educational programming and fundraising. Council staff, including those in the Special Events, Parks and Facilities and Communications and Public Affairs departments, will oversee the elements of the AVM that Turner once coordinated.

Will others outside of the organization notice the change? “We hope not,” said Neal Shearer, ACC Community Operations Officer and staff liaison to the AVMST. “But Liz is most deserving of her retirement, after all she has brought to this community through her work with the AVM.”

The Veterans Day Ceremony was scaled up to mark the fifth anniversary of the Memorial. The event was generously supported by sponsors and was the culmination of over a year of planning.

Staff is meeting regularly to determine changes they will implement and how to keep attendance in check. “The Memorial has gained worldwide attention,” said Kristi Northcutt, Communications and Public Affairs director. “For the second straight year, the AVM was a trending topic on social media after the Veterans Day Ceremony. The several thousand people in attendance were additional proof that it’s grown beyond what we imagined.”

Fans of the Memorial itself and the ceremonies hosted there need not worry. “The AVM is a cherished part of our community’s fabric,” Northcutt said. “We will keep the spotlight strong.”

Learn more about the Anthem Veterans Memorial.