The Memorial Day Ceremony in Maricopa is making adjustments, both in venue and in tribute.
The annual event is usually held at the Veterans Center on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. However, this year the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12043 will partner with the Maricopa Police Department to host the commemoration at the Copper Sky Police Substation at 17985 N. Greythorn Drive.
The event will not only honor soldiers who lost their lives in active military service, but it will also recognize the lives of fallen first responders.
As tradition goes, leaders of the VFW and American Legion Post 133 will perform a wreath-laying ceremony for veterans. New this year will be an additional wreath laid by Maricopa Police Department’s Chief Steve Stahl, which will commemorate peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
VFW Past Commander Mike Kemery said it was natural to combine the tribute because “we are basically brothers in arms,” he said of veterans and first responders.
Kemery said the ceremony will be brief and an ideal way for residents to begin the holiday morning.
“It’s maybe a half-hour out of their day and then they can go barbecue, swim in the pool, go to the lake or do whatever they want,” Kemery said. “But at least pay their respects first because these are dangerous times.”
The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a flag raising ceremony. Various speakers, the Maricopa High School Air Force JrROTC Color Guard and the MPD Explorers will also participate in the event.
Additionally, a static display of military vehicles will be on site for community members to view during the ceremony.
Kemery said resident attendance not only pays tribute to those who lost their lives, but also to those who love them.
“It’s a show of support and a show of respect to those who have lost their loved ones,” he said.