World’s Strongest Violinist Evan Pittman played the Star Spangled banner and joined members of the Governor’s Youth Commission in the Pledge of Allegiance at a November 3rd ceremony at Arizona Public Service.
The annual ceremony, which honors Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshals and serves as an initial event of the parade, also features high caliber speakers on national security and veterans topics.
This year’s speakers were retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and Tuskegee Airman Bob Ashby, who spoke about being in squadrons when the military was desegregated; former Army sergeant and Gold Star mother Diana Pike, who spoke about her son Christian Pike, who died in Afghanistan in 2013; Brigadier General Brook Leonard, Commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base; Don Brandt, Chairman, President & CEO of Arizona Public Service; Arizona Senator and Vietnam veteran John McCain, who unveiled a new military apprenticeship program called Skillbridge; and retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General John Sattler, who talked about the core values associated with each of the military services.
Evan played his bluegrass version of the national anthem on the violin, as members of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station honor guard posted the American flag. Afterwards, he remained onstage, joined by three of his fellow Governor’s Youth Commissioners, and the four students led the audience of 200 guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Governor’s Youth Commissioners meet monthly by telephone and in-person to discuss topics pertinent to teen policies and issues like bullying and drug-use, and make recommendations to the Governor of Arizona. They also attend leadership training and participate in volunteer projects.