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The Spirit of Phoenix still lives on at PMMP and the cemeteries

Many local Phoenix residents arrived in red, white and blue attire May 26, 2014 for the 31st Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. The seven historic cemeteries are located at 14th Avenue and Jefferson Streets in the downtown Phoenix area.

A great tradition at the old cemeteries in Phoenix.
Photo by Debe Branning
The 31st Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony is a tradition at the old cemeteries
Photos by Debe Branning

The PMMP is made up of seven cemeteries dating back to the 1880’s. Burials ceased at the cemetery in 1914 and residences were built around the capital area. The original Pioneers’ Cemetery Association was established in the 1930’s. In 1983 the PCA re grouped to research and preserve the historic grounds. The Remembrance Ceremony was started in that year.

The ceremony began with a welcome, prayer, and a grand march of the many participants including: 1st New Mexico Volunteers, Company B; 9th Memorial United States Calvary; Arizona Civil War Council; Arizona Masonic Lodge #2; Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society; Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory—Ladies and Gentlemen of the Regiment; Children of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution; First Families of Arizona; Knight of Pythias; Salt River Waves; Sons of Confederate Veterans; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Southwest Civil War Association; The First Families of Arizona; United Daughters of the Confederacy—Thunderbird Chapter; West Valley Genealogy Society.

Several authors such as Frank Barrios, Debe Branning, Lisa Sharp, and Carolina Butler (editor) attended the event with their titles relating to Arizona history.

The keynote speaker was Vivia Hammontree Strang, the National Register Coordinator with the State Historic Preservation Office. Her address “Rising Out of the Ashes” talked about early life in the Phoenix area including the arrival of her own Texas ancestors to the Valley of the Sun.

The traditional bell tolled to honor departed members of the PCA and to our men and women in uniform killed in action past and present. A special remembrance was made to Marjory West—one of the longtime members of the PCA and friend to many Arizona historians.

After the final cannon salute and the playing of Taps by bugler, Jan Huber, refreshments were enjoyed by all.

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