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Maricopa Countys regional parks honor veterans with Military Service Appreciation Day


Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, occurs on November 11 in the United States in honor of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the date that signaled the end of World War I. In 1938, an Act was approved to recognize November 11 as a legal holiday to honor the veterans of World War I.

In 1954, Congress urged veterans service organizations to amend the original 1938 Act to strike out the word Armistice and insert the word Veterans so the holiday would honor American veterans of all wars.

“As a small token of appreciation for the freedoms afforded to all Americans, Maricopa County’s regional parks will be honoring all veterans with Military Service Appreciation Day,” said Bill Gates, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “All active and non-active military personnel will have their $7 per vehicle day-use entry fee waived on November 11. We hope this will allow them to relax and spend time with their family and friends while taking in the beauty of the Sonoran desert.”

In 2005, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors issued a formal proclamation resolving that each Veterans Day from that point forward would be observed as Military Service Appreciation Day on November 11 at all Maricopa County regional parks. As a result, all active and non-active military personnel are encouraged to visit the County’s eleven parks and enjoy affordable recreation.

“While we cannot thank our veterans enough for their service and the sacrifices they’ve made serving our country, we can offer them time in our regional parks to make memories with their loved ones,” said Supervisor Jack Sellers, District 1.

“With White Tank Mountain Regional Park near Luke Air Force Base, I’d like to encourage our veterans to enjoy an afternoon connecting with nature,” added Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “The park’s nature center and the library are also good resources to learn more about the plants and critters found in the park, especially if you have young children.”

“Now that the cooler temperatures have arrived, we’d like to encourage the community to get outdoors and explore the Sonoran desert. Our parks and the Maricopa Trail offer more than 645 miles of trails for hiking, trail running, biking, and horseback riding,” said Supervisor Thomas Galvin, District 2. “I hope this offer at our parks will encourage more conversations between veterans and their families and help them create life-long memories.” 

“First, I want to say thank you to our veterans. They work so hard for us,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “So let’s give them a day to relax. Let’s give them a day to re-energize in nature at our beautiful county parks. And let’s find a way, every day, to show our appreciation to our service members who defend our democracy day in and day out.” 

“In addition to waiving the day-use entry fee on Veteran’s Day, we also offer a discount on our annual pass for veterans with any level of a service-connected disability at any time during the year,” added R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director, and former Luke Air Force Base Honorary Commander. 

At approximately 120,000 acres, Maricopa County is home to one of the largest regional park systems in the United States. The parks are located throughout the County and are all within a 45-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. For information about activities at a County park near you, call (602) 506-2930 or visit www.maricopacountyparks.net/.

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