A parade of restored military vehicles, patriotic music, dignitaries’ speeches and a special tribute to fallen warriors will highlight Veterans Day activities in Albuquerque today.
Albuquerque’s commemoration begins at 9 a.m. with a parade of restored military vehicles sponsored by the Roadrunner Convoy of the New Mexico Military Vehicle Preservation Association. The parade starts at USS Bullhead Memorial Park at the southern end of San Pedro SE, winds through the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center complex and onto Ridgecrest Drive. It then turns east on Gibson Boulevard and north on Louisiana Boulevard, concluding at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, 1100 Louisiana SE.
Events at the Veterans Memorial begin at 10 a.m. with music by the Dukes of Albuquerque band.
Ceremonies begin at 11 a.m., and include the singing of the national anthem, an enlistment ceremony for young men and women entering the armed forces, a fallen warrior tribute and rifle and cannon salutes.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is Generations of Valor, said Ken O’Keefe, president of the United Veterans Council of New Mexico, a coalition of more than 60 veterans organizations. It highlights the bond of brotherhood shared by warriors, he said.
“We encourage veterans of all ages to bring their families, wear their medals and ribbons, to what should be an exciting and entertaining program,” O’Keefe said.
Special recognition will be given to these fallen warriors with ties to New Mexico:
⋄ Army Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, who died Sept. 21, 2013, in Afghanistan. Nevins’ father, Bill Nevins, lives in Albuquerque.
⋄ Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin, 21, of Lovington, who died April 26, 2004, in Iraq.
⋄ Army Sgt. Tristan Wade, 23, of Indianapolis, Ind., who died March 22, 2013, in Afghanistan. Wade deployed from White Sands Missile Range, and his wife, Alisha Morales, is from Las Cruces.
⋄ Army Pvt. Errol Milliard, 18, of Birmingham, Ala., who died July 4, 2013, in Afghanistan. Millard deployed from White Sands.
⋄ Army Pvt. Jonathan D. Hostetter, 20, of Humphreys, Mo., who died Aug. 23, 2013, in Afghanistan. Hostetter deployed from White Sands.
⋄ Army Spc. K.C. Alvarez, 23, of Santa Maria, Calif., who died Aug. 23, 2013, in Afghanistan. Alvarez, killed in the same incident as Hostetter, also deployed from White Sands.
The families will receive memorial bricks for installation at the Veterans’ Memorial from the Association of the U.S. Army, plaques from the Military Order of the Purple Heart and one-of-a-kind memorial quilts from the Jemez Mountains Bear Paw Quilting Guild.
Guest speakers include Col. Tom D. Miller, commander of Kirtland Air Force Base, Gov. Susana Martinez, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M, and city chief administrative officer Rob Perry.
At 1:30 p.m., Santa Fe author Jeffrey A. Lowdermilk will discuss his book, “Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s World War I Diary,” at the memorial’s visitors center. Overflow parking will be available at the Kirtland Federal Credit Union at Louisiana and Gibson boulevards, and courtesy vans will provide free rides to and from the Veterans Memorial.
Other local Veterans Day events include:
• Central New Mexico Community College will honor veterans at 10 a.m. at the main campus flagpole. Guest speakers include Donald K. Arnold, chief of staff of the 47th New Mexico Regiment Honor Guard; J.R. Romero, Vet Success on Campus counselor; and Debra Roane with Military OneSource. Navajo Code Talker David Patterson will be an honored guest.
• The University of New Mexico will mark Veterans Day with a 9 a.m. ceremony at the Scholes Hall flagpole.
• Rio Rancho will have its Veterans Day event at 11 a.m. at Veterans Monument Park, off Southern Boulevard on Pinetree Road.
• Sandoval County will host a Veterans Day ceremony at 1 p.m. at the county courthouse in Bernalillo.