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Because of the Brave spelled out with flags

University of Phoenix holds annual Memorial Day flag-planting event honoring fallen soldiers

By Sharla Hooper

Annual event featured Gold Star mothers and Arizona Heroes to Hometowns’ Kathy Pearce as guest speakers

University of Phoenix held its annual Memorial Day flag-planting event May 24 on its Phoenix campus in Arizona, honoring the sacrifices of those who served and died in the Armed Forces. This year, volunteers from university employees and community members planted more than 10,000 flags spelling out, “Because of the Brave.”

“Memorial Day is an incredibly important day where we take a pause from our daily lives to recognize the countless American servicemembers who have given their lives in the service of our nation,” stated Eric Ryan, senior director of military operations in the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “The University of Phoenix is honored to provide this important community event recognizing and upholding the service and sacrifices of fallen servicemembers and their families. Through this event, we are able to participate in a visual ritual of recognition and healing. We honor the service of our own veteran team members and students and alumni and the sacrifices they have witnessed and still bear everyday.”

Following the flag-planting, Ryan led a moving ceremony that featured performances of the national anthem and “Taps,” a Color Guard presentation, and guest speakers including Tammy Pulaski of American Gold Star Mothers, Kathy Pearce of Arizona Heroes to Hometowns (AZH2H), and Wendy Shackley of The Ripple Effect and American Gold Star Mothers.

On Friday, May 27, the flags will be collected by the nonprofit Arizona Heroes to Hometowns to be distributed at local military cemeteries ahead of Memorial Day.

“Arizona Heroes to Hometowns helps wounded heroes and their families socially, physically, spiritually, and financially to find their new normal and ensure our wounded heroes achieve success in their continuous transition back to their hometowns,” stated Kathy Pearce of Arizona Heroes to Hometowns. “We have been involved with the flag tribute at the university from its inception. Each year, flags have been given to the national cemeteries along with many small cemeteries in Arizona that honor those that have served this great country.”

Employee volunteers at University of Phoenix Hawaii campus also participated in a flag-planting ceremony at the Kaneohe Veteran Memorial and Cemetery by planting flags in the Columbarium.

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