Writer Lara Piu
Hot dogs, hot days and friends and family time often fill the long Memorial Day weekend. But each year, Anthem Community Council reminds the community what the holiday is all about.
Since 2013, the council has invited the public to attend its annual Memorial Day ceremony, “A Day of Remembrance.” This year, the ceremony will be held Monday, May 29 at 9 a.m. at the Anthem Veterans Memorial in Community Park, located at 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway. The 45-minute ceremony will honor the service and sacrifice of veterans who have fallen while serving our nation.
“Memorial Day allows our community the opportunity to honor and remember our fallen heroes,” says Kristi Northcutt, director of public affairs for Anthem Community Council. “The Anthem Veterans Memorial is a place where we can individually reflect and remember every day of the year those who served and sacrificed, but Memorial Day is the perfect time and the AVM a perfect place to come together as one unit to pay our respects.”
Highlights of the ceremony will include a keynote address by Lt. Col. David Clukey, United States Army Special Forces. Lt. Col. Clukey conducted 11 overseas deployments including seven combat tours, six to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His previous assignment was as a deputy chief of current operations at Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He currently serves as the commander of the Phoenix Army Recruiting Battalion in Anthem, which opened in December.
“Every gathering at the memorial is an opportunity for our community to thank the veterans and their families for what they have given to our country in the name of freedom,” Northcutt adds. “It is always our hope that those who attend will walk away having been touched by some element from the morning – whether it be the speakers, music, stories of veterans or roses laid in place to honor those killed in action or the POW/MIA table.”
Serving as master of ceremonies will be Lt. Col. John Simmons, United States Air Force (Retired). As the Sandra Day O’Connor Jr. Air Force ROTC commander, his cadets also will participate in the ceremony. Lt. Col. Simmons was a F-15E instructor weapons systems officer, and commanded the 12th Combat Training Squadron in Ft. Irwin, CA. He also served as the Pentagon’s chief fighter assignments for the Air Force Colonel’s Office for three years.
Under the direction of assistant chorale conductor Patti Graetz, ProMusica Arizona will perform music, including “Taps,” which will close the ceremony with a moment of silence.
Anthem Veterans Memorial
Anthem Community Park
41703 N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy., Anthem
Monday, May 29