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11:35 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Local youths honor veterans at POW/MIA ceremony

Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Courtesy<br>The Central Arizona Young Marines post the colors at last year’s POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony.

Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Courtesy<br>The Central Arizona Young Marines post the colors at last year’s POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony.

Local youths will honor veterans and present the National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. this Friday at the flagpole circle of the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott.

The Northern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System teamed up 11 years ago and entered the USA Today and Parade Magazine "Make a Difference Day Award" competition to start an all-youth-sponsored ceremony to honor the nation's former prisoners of war and families of veterans missing in action, said Ame Callahan, spokeswoman for the Prescott VA.

Local youths have been putting together the program each year ever since.

This year, Colleen Gonzalez, a ninth-grade student at Tri-City College Preparatory School who also volunteers at the VA and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol #206, will be mistress of ceremonies of the POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, features the Central Arizona Young Marines posting the colors, Ashley Hensley giving the invocation, William Timpany leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Annabella Brown singing the National Anthem, keynote speakers Sarah Cramer and Jesse Alexis Blum from Tri-City College Preparatory School, and a musical salute by the Prescott High School Show Choir.

A monument honoring all veterans will also be dedicated at the ceremony, Callahan said.

"The monument is the vision of Wally Presmyk, a man who lost his grandson, Army Sgt. Kenneth Schall, who was killed in action on May 22, 2005 in Iraq," Callahan said. "Many of the bricks surrounding the monument have the names of veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom who received Purple Hearts. All of them are Arizonans."

Refreshments will be provided following the ceremony in the Theater Building.

For more information, contact the Public Affairs Office at 776-6013.