Veterans Day Ceremony shines a WWII-era spotlight

spotlightOn November 11, the Anthem community and guests from around the Valley and beyond will gather at the Anthem Veterans Memorial in honor of Veterans Day. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 11:11 a.m., with the solar spotlight on the Great Seal of the United States through the five armed services pillar ellipses (weather permitting).

Ceremony participants
Army veteran and current reservist Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Woodruff, California, will deliver the keynote address. Woodruff, a 21-year Criminal Investigation Department officer, served several deployments in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as a guardian for a World War II veteran on a 2017 U.S. Honor Flight. Woodruff currently serves as the Director of Security for UPS Worldwide - Southern California Region. He earned his Master of Arts in Security Management and is pursuing a second Masters in Homeland Security, both from the American Military Academy in Charlestown, West Virginia.

Kyle Polen, Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Voice of Democracy national essay contest participant, also will speak. Polen’s essay, “Why My Vote Matters” earned him the title of Arizona State Champion. He earned second place overall in the international competition, and an academic scholarship to a school of his choice. Also a prestigious Flinn Scholar, Polen is now a pre-med student at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College.

Pastor Jessica Schulze of Anthem’s Grace North Church will deliver the invocation, and Musical Theater of Anthem and the Arizona Veterans Band will provide special music. Sandra Day O’Connor Air Force Jr. ROTC, under the command of Lt. Col. John Simmons (USAF, Retired) and Master Sgt. Michael Badey (USAF, Retired) will support the event.

Veterans Service Award
The Anthem Veterans Service Award will be presented as part of the ceremony. This award recognizes “an individual or group for extraordinary service and selfless dedication in support of our nation’s veterans.”

A plaque with the names of recipients is on display at the Civic Building. Past recipients include the Daisy Mountain Veterans (2013); Ray Norris (2014); Mary Ann Derryberry (2015); Elizabeth Turner (2016); John Simmons and Bob Hackett (2017); and Tom Kirk (2018).

Event logistics
The ceremony begins promptly at 10 a.m. and will last approximately 70 minutes. Parking and seating at the ceremony are limited; please arrive early and bring a lawn chair or blankets. The ceremony, as well as the 11:11 a.m. spotlight, will be projected on an LED screen for optimal viewing.

For event setup and security, the upper area of Community Park nearest the memorial, including the main parking lot, will be closed all day Sunday, November 10 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, November 11 prior to the ceremony.

The ACC extends gratitude to the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, the Safeway-Albertson’s Foundation and BrightView Landscapes for their generous support of the ceremony.

The Daisy Mountain Veterans’ 15th Annual Veterans Parade will take place Saturday, November 9, beginning at 10 a.m. Bring a seat to watch the parade floats, a flyover and a Mardi Gras-style candy toss.

Following the parade, head to Community Park softball fields for the annual picnic, corn hole tournament and other activities, starting at 11 a.m.

Circle of Honor
Commemorative veteran pavers make wonderful gifts for the holidays. Place an order now and print a downloadable gift certificate to present a veteran until the paver is placed. The next order deadline is November 25; pavers from that order will be added to the Circle of Honor in January.