Municipalities again invite the public to celebrate Veterans Day with family-friendly and patriotic public events.
From Anthem to Avondale and Goodyear to Gilbert – cities are hosting free parades and concerts as well as fundraisers in support of worthy charitable organizations.
Among the options on the calendar this year are happenings in west Phoenix, Surprise and Goodyear, including a parade, performances, pancakes and a pow-wow – along with a special tribute to one soldier’s sacrifice with the dedication of a new veterans’ memorial.
Arizona State University’s campus in the West Valley hosts the 19th Annual Veterans Day Weekend Traditional Pow Wow today from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on the Fletcher Library Lawn, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, Glendale.
Colorful traditional regalia, music, arts and crafts, food stalls and activities for the children provide a broad range of entertaining options to attendees.
The day-long celebration features a full schedule of events, including grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., during which flag bearers and traditional dancers will parade around the arena in full regalia.
“The centerpiece of the event — the pow wow — is a traditional gathering of dancers, drummers, elders and families. The arena director will direct the activities in the dance arena and the announcer will explain the symbolism, protocol and spiritual meanings of the dances, regalia, singing and drumming,” officials state at the university website.
After each grand entry, the host drum group will play the Flag Song and Veteran’s Song to honor those who have served. Then they perform an Intertribal Dance, inviting everyone to participate in a celebration of life.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs – limited seating will be provided for elders.
Along the perimeter of the Fletcher Lawn will be arts and crafts vendors, food trucks and artists’ demonstrations. And an art exhibit curated by ASU faculty member Jacob Meders will highlight the works of Arizona’s contemporary Native American artists.
The ASU Teachers of the Future student club hosts activities for young attendees, too.
The city of Surprise’s 5th Annual Veterans Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15960 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise.
The popular and well-attended free public event features military color guards, ROTC, marching bands and a myriad of brightly colored parade floats and displays.
Before the parade gets under way will be a special dedication ceremony for the city’s new Veterans Reflection Circle at 8 a.m. outside the north entrance to the Northwest Regional Library, 19089 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise.
A raft of dignitaries and community leaders will be on hand to commemorate the public opening of the veterans’ memorial, which was constructed to honor the service and selfless contributions of the late Sgt. First Class Brian Mancini, the combat-wounded Iraq War veteran who co-founded Honor House (www.thehonorhouse.org).
Surprise Mayor Skip Hall said he is looking forward to this year’s festivities.
“Combined with the dedication of the Veterans Reflection Circle, attending the parade is a great way to honor and thank veterans for their service to our country,” Mr. Hall said.
Also preceding the parade, a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast will raise money for Aisles of Smiles at the Cimarron Center, 17100 W. Clearview Blvd. in Sun City Grand.
“This event is held every year to honor our veterans and to raise money for children in need,” stated event organizers.
Tickets for the breakfast fundraiser will be available at the gate for $5.
Later in the afternoon, city officials will host the 2019 Pride of Goodyear Veteran’s Day Tribute starting at 2 p.m. at Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear.
“This event will pay tribute to the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces, along with their families, in serving our country. All five branches of the military are invited to participate,” stated event organizers at the city’s website.
The formal tribute ceremony commences at 3 p.m.
Other featured activities at the free-to-the public event include an interactive flag garden, complimentary concessions, community vendors, a mobile museum, patriotic-themed youth performances and a flyover performed by jets from Luke Air Force Base.