When Pat and I were growing up, there was no such thing as Veterans Day. November 11th was a holiday, but a somber holiday that we called armistice Day. It commemorated the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice at 11:11am on November 11th, 1918 that ended World War One.
When we were in grade school, at 11 am on Armistice Day, the nuns would march us all to the adjoining church where a mass was celebrated in honor of the American servicemen who fought and died 25+ years previously and those who were fighting and dying in WW II. At precisely 11:11 that morning every plant whistle, fire siren and car horn in town blew signifying the start of a moment of silence for those who had fallen.
After WWII, congress rightfully decided to proclaim a day each year to honor all veterans and changed Armistice Day (November 11th) to Veterans Day. As a result of that change, the significance of 11:11 am on November 11th was all but forgotten. Everywhere, that is, except for in the town of Anthem, Arizona where the residents erected a unique monument to our veterans that encompasses a special reminder of the time and date of the WWI armistice.
Our daughter, Jackie Lee, sent us the following article that beautifully describes this monument that pays tribute to all of our veterans while uniquely remembering The Armistice:
ONCE A YEAR AT 11:11 AM On 11/11
THE SUN SHINES PERFECTLY ON THIS MEMORIAL
At precisely 11:11 a.m.each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.
The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.
The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size (from 17 ft. to 6 ft.) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corp, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.
Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border. Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.