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 1.
In 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of armed forces in the Nation’s history, 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 Clint Hickman, 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, spend time with their family, and take in the beauty the Sonoran Desert has to offer."
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. All active and non-active military personnel are encouraged to visit any of the county’s eleven parks and enjoy affordable recreation.
“While we cannot begin to thank our veterans enough for the sacrifices they’ve made to serve our country, we can invite them to spend time making precious memories with their loved ones at our regional parks,” said Supervisor Jack Sellers, District 1. “With the cooler weather upon us, a hike or bike ride along the more than 315 miles of trails our regional parks manage is a perfect outing for the whole family. With this much room to roam, physical distancing is not a problem when you explore the less traveled spots around our parks and the Maricopa Trail.”
“We can never repay the debt we have to those who served, but we can prioritize small gestures of gratitude in our daily lives,” said Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2. “Recognizing Military Service Appreciate Day at our regional parks is one of those small gestures. To all of our military veterans, thank you for your service and your sacrifice on behalf of our great nation."
“My grandfather served in World War II, and one of my favorite things to do when he was alive was to walk around outside with him and hear him tell stories,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “I hope this offer at our parks will encourage more conversations between veterans and their families, so each of our veterans will know how much we truly appreciate them.”
“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 for their service.”
“In addition to waiving the day-use entry 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 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/.