Veterans Day Ceremony also celebrates AVM tenth

The 10th anniversary of the Anthem Veterans Memorial (AVM) will come with some added fanfare on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Dedicated on Veterans Day in 2011, the memorial received Arizona Historic Landmark status in 2012. That same year, the memorial was the recipient of the Arizona Public Works Project of the Year Award and the Grand Award–Best Engineering and Environmental Consulting Project from the American Consulting Engineers Companies. The AVM also is designated as a Vietnam War Commemoration Partner.

Ceremony Speakers

Admiral Tom FargoAdmiral Tom Fargo (USN, Retired) will serve as the keynote speaker. Fargo’s distinguished Naval career culminated with his assignment as commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. As the senior U.S. military commander in East Asia and the Pacific, Fargo led the largest unified command while directing the joint operations of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.  At sea, he served as the Executive Officer aboard Plunger and Commanding Officer of the Salt Lake City, upon which he hosted aboard several members of the cast of the movie “The Hunt for Red October.” He served as Commander, Submarine Group SEVEN; Commander, Task Force SEVEN FOUR; and Commander, Task Force ONE FIVE SEVEN in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf; and commanded the United States FIFTH Fleet and Naval Forces of the Central Command during two years of Iraqi contingency operations. He served as the 29th Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet from October 1999 to May 2002. He received the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership, and is a multiple recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit. Watch a video of Admiral Fargo.

Mark CliffordLt. Col. Mark Clifford (USAF, Retired) will present the Veteran’s Perspective. Lt. Col. Clifford’s military career in the United States Air Force is vast. He served as a fuel loader for Air Force One; an Executive Officer in the physical education department and assistant boxing coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy; in special operations deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Africa and South Korea; and as a Squadron Commander. He managed C-130s at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, and at his final post, in Daegu, he supervised 800 people handling munitions, bombs, missiles, specialized vehicles, and airways across five bases. He’s the Assistant Dean and Director of Sports Business for the Colangelo School of Business at Grand Canyon University.

Timothy SwindleDr. Timothy Swindle, director of the University of Arizona Space Institute and the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, will provide a brief history about the extensive role Arizona has played in the space program prior to the dedication of the U.S. Space Force flags into the Memorial. Swindle’s personal research involves measurements of the noble gases in extraterrestrial materials, such as lunar samples and meteorites, to study the evolution of the solar system. His research projects have led him to determine the timing of impact events on the Moon and on asteroids and to probe Martian meteorites to understand the history of the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with surface materials. Asteroid 8690 Swindle is named in his honor.

Speakers from the 2011 dedication and 2016 fifth anniversary will return to honor their service branches as they rededicate the pillars to the community. Lt. Col. Amber Cargile (USAF, Retired) will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and the invocation will be provided by Pastor Mac McElroy; both participated in the 2011 dedication. Musical Theatre of Anthem and ProMusica Arizona, both of which have performed at ceremonies since 2011, will provide special music. The event will conclude with a Luke Air Force Base fighter jet flyover and the solar spotlight onto the Great Seal of the United States at 11:11 a.m. 

Anthem Veterans Service Award

The annual Veterans Service Award is presented with deep appreciation at the Veterans Day Ceremony to any individual, group, business, or organization that has displayed extraordinary service or selfless dedication to our community's veterans. Previous award winners include: Daisy Mountain Veterans (2013); Ray Norris (2014); Mary Ann Derryberry (2015); Liz Turner (2016); John Simmons and Bob Hackett (2017); Tom Kirk (2018); Ron Tucker (2019); and Youth for Troops (2020). 

Event logistics

  • For event setup and security, the upper area of Community Park, including the parking lot nearest the AVM, will be closed all day Wednesday, Nov. 10 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 11. However, only speakers and ceremony participants, law enforcement/security, and ADA parking will be available in this lot on Nov. 11. Drive-through drop-offs for ADA visitors will be available.
  • Overflow parking will be available in the other two lots of Community Park, at Boulder Creek High School (a short walk away), or at neighboring commercial plazas (please park the furthest distance from store entrances, out of respect for their patrons).
  • The ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and will last approximately 70 minutes. Prior to the ceremony, videos recapping the last 10 years of the AVM and honoring our community’s veterans will be shown on the two-story LED screens.
  • The AVM will be secured and not accessible Nov. 10 or Nov. 11. During the ceremony and solar spotlight, event attendees must remain seated and may not approach the memorial. The AVM will reopen to the public at approximately 11:45 a.m. This is for the safety of event attendees, as well as for the safety of the memorial itself.
  • Seating is limited; attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. No pop-up tents will be allowed.
  • As this will be a large event (even though outdoors), mask wearing is strongly recommended per the CDC guidelines, in order to ensure the safest event possible and reduce community spread of COVID-19.

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 Nov. 15; pavers from that order will be added to the Circle of Honor in January.

Special Thanks

Thank you to the many businesses, foundations, and individuals who have offered support for the Veterans Day Ceremony and AVM 10th anniversary through grants, sponsorships, and in-kind donations:

  • Arizona Department of Veterans Services and GEOST
  • Albertsons, Safeway and Vons-Southwest Division, DLC Resources, and Associated Asset Management
  • AMPED Coffee, Tennessee Grill, EPCOR Water, and Robyn's Arrangements/Askren & Sons; and
  • The many individuals and families who donated funds to offset ceremony costs.