Local veterans

Students from Agua Fria High School ROTC program performing the ceremony of the Missing Man Table. (Agua Fria High School District/Submitted)

Despite the rainy weather on Nov. 9, the mood at the Lux Air Jet Center was anything but gloomy. At approximately 11:15 a.m., the closed-off hangar began to quiet down as people took their seats to enjoy the Veterans Day luncheon hosted by Agua Fria High School District and ROTC, and the Avondale and Litchfield elementary school districts. The room was full of patriotic-themed decorations with a large sign in the back thanking the veterans in attendance for their service to our country.

The Agua Fria High School Junior ROTC presented the colors to kick off the morning, followed by a performance from members of the Desert Edge High School Concert and Avondale Elementary School District Honors choirs. Together, the two groups sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Hundreds of local veterans were recognized at the ceremony. Cory Beal, Canyon View assistant principal and a presenter of the individuals who helped recognize each veteran, said, “The word ‘legacy’ keeps coming to mind each time I shook the hand of a veteran.”

As each veteran was called and each branch of the military recognized, you could hear cheers from the crowd and retired veterans as they appeared to reminisce on their time serving. Many in attendance became emotional as the veterans were recognized and honored for their service. One veteran and her daughter received a standing ovation after being honored for the many members of their family that served in the U.S. military.

Following the recognition ceremony, Carrie Nunez, a teacher at Agua Fria High School and a retired veteran, took the stage to present the Remembrance Table. The table, decorated with five place settings — representing the five branches of the military — included an inverted glass, a slice of lemon, a red ribbon, a pinch of salt, and more, each symbolizing the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers who were in attendance in spirit.

As the event neared the end, the Litchfield Elementary School Choir gave a performance of “God Bless America.” Soon after, Trey Terry, Agua Fria Governing Board president and a retired veteran, gave the closing remarks, stating to the new generation of American heroes: “These are young men and women putting their lives on the line and putting their lives on hold to serve our country.”