An event commemorating veterans Friday highlighted not only the past, but also the future.
More than 300 people attended Scottsdale’s Veterans Day Commemoration at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, where speakers said the future is forever affected by the past.
"We must imprint upon our youth the importance of our history," Mayor Mary Manross said.
Manross said later the theme of youth involvement is a personal one for her, stemming from her own four children and a family history of military service.
"It’s important for us all to teach (the youth)," she said. "You need to understand history or you’re much more likely to repeat the same mistakes."
Michael Vigil, a Marine, came to the event with his wife, two nephews and a niece. He said it is essential that younger generations learn about the past and embrace it.
"If the youth doesn’t know (about the past), we’ve lost sight of everything," he said. "It’s the ones that came before us that shaped America."
Notable speakers at the event included Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s state historian and a former Marine, and Sen. Jon Kyl and Rep. J.D. Hayworth, both R-Ariz.
Former Scottsdale Councilman Jim Bruner also paid tribute to Zina Kuhn, a woman the late Mayor Herb Drinkwater called an "ambassador of goodwill."
Kuhn, who died in August, helped establish Scottsdale’s Veterans Day celebration in 1989.
She also restored the backdrop of the event, the 1947 Gratitude Train Boxcar, a French gift to Arizona after World War II.
"While she never wanted to admit or acknowledge her age, she was very much a legacy in her own life," Bruner said. "If she were still here, she would say, in her very heavy accent, ‘This is the greatest country in the world.’ "