Monday, November 26, 2018

Arizona XIX

Some of you may recall that a while back I posted pics of a memorial in Anthem, Arizona. The memorial here is a multi-war memorial, which honors all who have served and commemorates all who have been lost.  But, above all, it is a memorial to the signing of the Armistice that ended WWI on November 11, 1918.

I was here in Anthem a few years ago and was struck by the memorial and the fact that at 11 minutes after 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month the sun shines through the apertures in the five steles to illuminate the Great Seal of the United States which rests, awaiting this very moment each year.

I determined when I first visited to return to see this remarkable event. Just as luck would have it, this was the year: exactly 100 years after the signing of the Armistice to end the "War that would end all wars."

I wondered about how crowded the event might be and therefore how difficult it might be to get pictures, so I actually went the day before, hoping that fewer people might be there.

Well, I chose right. We arrived and there were a number of folks with the same idea, but not so many as to make it impossible to get a shot of the exact moment.

I got the photos I wanted and then moved on with the intent to return the next day for the actual ceremonies.

On the 11th, the place was jammed. Hundreds and hundreds of people wanting to be there. There were bands, a choir, speakers and all that one might expect to see. It was humbling.

And, no photography was allowed due to the large numbers, so I really lucked out be coming the day before.

A POW from Vietnam was given an award and I had a chance to speak with him and, not surprisingly, he knows Everett Alvarez, the first pilot shot down over North Vietnam and the longest inhabitant of the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Cmdr. Alvarez lives in my town and I have had the great honor of speaking with him on several occasions. The award was presented on his 90th birthday.

The keynote speaker was Jim Zwit, the only man in his unit who made it home. He has spent much of the rest of his life seeking out the families of his lost buddies and has been successful. His story is quite remarkable and you can find lots about him on line, especially about his chance meeting with a family member of the one guy whose family he could not find. Take a moment and check it out.

So, one more event off the bucket list, I am extremely grateful that I had this opportunity and I recommend that if you are ever in or near Phoenix, you drive a few miles north to anthem and check this out. Not only is the memorial remarkable but it sits in a truly beautiful park, too.

Next time, on the 1st of December, we will return to California, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Arizona, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

No comments:

Post a Comment