East Valley prepares to honor veterans with parades, ceremonies

This year’s Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade will honor Purple Heart recipients, like those, above, who rode in the parade last year. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

This year’s Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade will honor Purple Heart recipients, like those, above, who rode in the parade last year. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

 

Several events have been scheduled in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon to honor the area’s military veterans for Veterans Day.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

From noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Central Arizona College will honor all who serve and have served in the military during a ceremony at its Superstition Mountain campus, 805 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction.

The ceremony will take place on the east side of the F Building near the flagpoles.

For more information, e-mail veterans@centralaz.edu or call 520-494-5402.

Saturday, Nov. 7

The public is invited to attend a Veterans Day Remembrance starting at noon Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet, 10550 E. Baseline Road in Mesa, just west of Apache Junction. The Motorcycle Color Guard of America will begin the remembrance by presenting the American flag, and will also honor veterans in the audience by presenting flags for the five branches of the Armed Forces.

Arizona performers, The Needham Twins, will sing the national anthem and other patriotic favorites.

The Jewish War Veterans Copper State Post 619, a significant contributor to the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Hospital, and other veterans’ facilities will participate as well as the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The Patriot Youth Corps will remember those who gave their lives by performing the Salt Ceremony.

Before and after the remembrance, adults and children are invited to write notes and color pictures to go into Packages From Home care packages.

For more information, call 480-380-5572 or visit its website.

Sunday, Nov. 8

Starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, the annual Tribute to Veterans will take place during the Festival of the Superstitions community event at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail in Apache Junction.

The guest speaker will be Purple Heart recipient Chuck Byers. Also participating in the ceremony will be the Apache Junction High School Navy Junior ROTC Color Guard, guest singer Sammy C and Filly’s Idol Cheryl Guy, and members of Patriot Guard Riders of Arizona, American Legion Riders of Post 27 Apache Junction, Superstition Harley HOG Chapter and Motorcycle Color Guard of America.

Starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, the Tenth Annual Celebration of Veterans will begin at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church, 6640 S. Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon. The event is free; however, a free-will offering will be accepted.

This event is produced by volunteers from Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, event volunteer Rae Tianen said during a phone interview.

Military veterans will be recognized through patriotic music, guest speakers with personal wartime stories and poems, Ms. Tianen said.

Doors will open at 2:15 p.m. for the non-denominational community event. At 2:30 p.m. there will be a program by the Veterans Heritage Project and Welcome Home organizations. Clyde Taylor, the state coordinator for the Missing in American Project, will speak at 2:45 p.m.

A color guard will officially open the event at 3 p.m.

The combined choirs of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Gold Canyon United Methodist Church will combine to sing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the offering, Ms. Tianen said.

U.S. Army Spc. Earl Beasley will be the master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker will be retired Army Maj. Arden Rowley.

In addition, the Girl Scouts of America will perform a flag-retirement ceremony.

All proceeds of the free-will offering will be donated to the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 650 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, to assist returning warriors. Attendees are asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item per person for the Gold Canyon UMC Food Bank.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony in the courtyard area.

For more information, call Rae Tianen 480-671-7378.

 

The Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade will take place on Veterans Day in downtown Apache Junction. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

The Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade will take place on Veterans Day in downtown Apache Junction. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

Wednesday, Nov. 11

The Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade has been held on Veterans Day — Nov. 11 — each year for more than 20 years, according to the parade committee’s Facebook page. This year’s parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The Commemorative Air Force will return to perform a flyover, committee member Dave Waldron said during a phone interview Oct. 29.

This year’s theme is Honoring Purple Heart Veterans, Mr. Waldron said. The grand marshal is a Purple Heart recipient, Mr. Waldron said.

“A person receives a Purple Heart if he or she is wounded or killed in the line of duty, and we want to honor them and their sacrifice,” Mr. Waldron said.

The parade takes place along West Apache Trail. It begins at North Apache Trail/Phelps Drive and proceeds in the westbound lanes to Gold Drive, where participants will turn left and head back in the eastbound lanes of West Apache Trail to Phelps Drive.

The parade can be viewed from both sides of the road, Mr. Waldron said.

The parade route will close to traffic at 6 a.m.

Just prior to the start of the parade, at 9:15 a.m., the entries carrying American flags will gather at the Focal Point on the northwest corner of North Apache Trail/Phelps Drive and West Apache Trail for the Massing of the Colors ceremony of remembrance.

The flyover by the Commemorative Air Force at 9:30 a.m. will signal the start of the parade.
At 11 a.m., a ceremony honoring Veterans Day will be hosted by VFW No. 9399, 133 N. Saguaro Drive in Apache Trail. It is open to the public. A moment of silence will take place at 11:11 a.m., the moment the guns fell silent ending World War I.

About 35-45 participants from the east Valley are expected to take part this year in the hour-long procession, Mr. Waldron said.

Participants in the parade include local veterans service clubs, motorcycle groups, car clubs, marching bands and equestrian associations. Entries are being accepted through Nov 7.

Parade-entry forms may be picked at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail.

People also may register the morning of the event, Mr. Waldron said.

“We will make room for them,” he said.

For more information, e-mail AJVDParade@aol.com or call Mr. Waldron at 480-250-0944.

Reach staff writer Wendy Miller at wmiller@newszap.com

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