Vets day events begin Friday





SIERRA VISTA — A number of events connected with Veterans Day will begin Friday.

At noon Friday, the groundbreaking for a chapel on the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery will take place.

Funds for the chapel had to be privately raised, as neither the federal government nor the state, which operates the cemetery, could use taxpayers’ funds for the project.

The cemetery’s nonprofit foundation was able to raise more than $200,000 in 15 months, meaning if the weather cooperates, the chapel could be dedicated on Memorial Day in 2014. Fundraising to obtain another $50,000 continues in order to furnish the inside of the chapel.

The public is invited to the Friday ceremony.

Sunday there will be two events, one involving the Marines recognizing their 238th birthday and the other a special 62nd Army Band concert.

Members of the local Thunder Mountain Detachment of the Marine Corps League will host a ceremony at the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery honoring Marines who are interred at the facility.

The event, to which the public is invited, will take place at 2 p.m.

Also taking place at 2 p.m., and to which the public is invited, is a free concert by the brass choir of the Fort Huachuca military band, also known as the Military Intelligence Corps Band, which will take place in the sanctuary of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, with the concert also highlighting the church pipe organ.

Monday will be the highlight of the Veterans Day, on the day set aside to remember those who have served in America’s Armed Forces starting with the annual parade from 7th Street down Fry Boulevard to the city’s Veterans’ Memorial Park. This year, no flyover of Arizona Air National Guard F-16s is planned.

The grand marshal is retired Air Force Col. Gene Fenstermacher, who has been selected as the Veteran of the Year by the Sierra Vista Area Veterans Council.

A short ceremony will take place in the park which will also recognized this year’s local inductees into the Arizona Veterans all of Fame — retired Sgt. 1st Class Lynnise Moore and the late Army Brig. Gen. Bud Strom.

Also taking place in the park — from 9 a.m. to noon — will be a Veterans Expo, to provide support to veterans and their families on a number of benefits they are authorized.