Veterans and visitors flocked to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza on Veterans Day

Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-13 10:52:18-05

People across the Valley celebrated Veterans Day in several different ways. For some it was a day of relaxation afforded by those who served for our freedom, for others like veteran Steve Keast it was a day of lessons. 

Keast, a Valley resident and grandfather, took his young grandchildren to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza for a learning experience on how our freedom isn’t free.

“He taught me how to take care and help others and don't just care about yourself but other people,” said Eli Keast when asked about the day’s lesson.

“This is something everyone should do with their grandchildren. It’s not just about those who served in wars, this is dedicated to military, law enforcement, people who have put their time and lives into what makes Arizona a great place to live and America a great place to live,” said Steve Keast.

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For others it was a way to pay respect to our veterans. We found Thomas Pawlak doing that by using a little elbow grease. Pawlak is part of a volunteer group called “Mission Restore Bronze” and spent his day polishing grave stone markers and memorials like those at the plaza just east of the state capitol.

“You have a bad day, go do a marker and it changes something in your mind and I tell people as they volunteer throughout the country you won't be able to do just one,” explained Pawlak.

Pawlak never served in the military but says he now serves his country with his bronze polishing.

As he worked, veterans visiting the plaza, like Steven Basehoer, watched.

“Meeting a citizen who didn't serve but has this kind of respect has my respect in return, as far as I'm concerned they're on the same boat,” said Basehoer

“The worst looking cemetery in the United States as far as condition is right here in Phoenix, so I hope to change that, one marker at a time,” pledged Pawlak.