The Luke Air Force Base Color Guard posted the colors Monday in front of the Arizona Veteran's Memorial in Green Valley Park to open Payson's 2001 Veterans Day service, "A Tribute of Remembrance, Rededication, Resolve." (Back to Front) Senior Airman Benjamin Fisher, Staff Sgt. Joe Borkowski, Staff Sgt. Juan Trujillo and Senior Airman Matthias Jung. The program, organized by local patriot Lee Pretsch, included live music from the Payson High School Band and Honor Choir and local musician John Carpino. It also included participation from local Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol members, speakers, and a special presentation by Arizona Public Service District Manager Jim Spencer, who dedicated the benefactors' plaque now located at the south end of the memorial. The new plaque recognizes the businesses, governments, service clubs and veterans organizations who donated time and money to build the memorial at Green Valley Park.
The crowd was pleased to hear from visiting speaker Lt. Col. David Althoff, a highly decorated Marine combat aviator whose name was enshrined in the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame last year. His bold statements of undaunted patriotism drew repeated applause from hundreds of visitors who gathered to honor America's Veterans. The ceremony was closed with a prayer and a solemn performance of the official military bugle call, "Taps."