Anthem’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony salutes nation’s heroes


The Anthem Community Council invites the public to attend the annual Veterans Day Ceremony 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at the Anthem Veterans Memorial. The program will honor the service of all veterans and their families, as well as paying special tribute to service members of the World War II era. The ceremony concludes at 11:11 a.m., in honor of Armistice, with the solar illumination of the Great Seal of the United States through the five armed services pillar ellipses (weather permitting).

Ceremony participants

Army veteran and current reservist Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Woodruff, San Diego, will deliver the keynote address. Mr. Woodruff, a 21-year Criminal Investigation Department officer, served several deployments in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as a guardian for a World War II veteran on a 2017 U.S. Honor Flight. He currently services as the Director of Security for UPS Worldwide - Southern California Region. He earned his Master of Arts in Security Management and is pursuing a second Masters in Homeland Security, both from the American Military Academy in Charlestown, West Virginia.

Kyle Polen, Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Voice of Democracy national essay contest participant, also will speak. Mr. Polen’s essay, “Why My Vote Matters” earned him the title of Arizona State Champion. He earned second place overall in the international competition, and an academic scholarship to a school of his choice. Also a prestigious Flinn Scholar, Mr. Polen is now a pre-med student at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College.

Pastor Jessica Schulze of Anthem’s Grace North Church will deliver the invocation, and Musical Theater of Anthem and the Arizona Veterans Band will provide special music. Sandra Day O’Connor Air Force Jr. ROTC, under the command of Lt. Col. John Simmons (USAF, Retired) and Master Sgt. Michael Badey (USAF, Retired) will support the event.

Veterans Service Award

The Veterans Service Award will be presented during the ceremony. The award recognizes an individual, group, business or organization that has displayed extraordinary service or selfless dedication to our community’s veterans. Nominate through Oct. 11 at

Logistics and directions to the ceremony

Seating and parking for the Nov. 11 ceremony is limited. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Parking in the lot nearest the Memorial is intended for those who cannot walk longer distances; all others, please park in the middle or lower lots, or at the Community Center and access the park via the footbridge.

A high-definition LED screen will project the ceremony and photos/videos of veterans, and will capture the 11:11 a.m. moment when the sun’s rays pass through the five Armed Services pillars’ ellipses to cast a solar spotlight over the mosaic of the Great Seal of the United States (weather permitting). For safety, attendees will not be allowed to approach the Memorial during the ceremony or the 11:11 a.m. spotlight; the Memorial will open for visitors following the ceremony.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial is located in Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway. Take I-17 to exit 229. Turn east (right) onto Anthem Way, and then turn south (right) onto Gavilan Peak Parkway. The Memorial is on the left at the four-way stop signs and entrance to the park.