MCC hosts Veterans Day Never Forget Garden dedication, honors Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Innocencia white rose bush, white roses with widely opened petalsInnocencia white rose bush. MESA, Arizona -- Nov. 3, 2021 -- Veteran’s Day at Mesa Community College will be especially meaningful this year as the Nov. 11 observance features the dedication of its new Never Forget Garden, a space within the nationally renowned MCC Rose Garden, to honor U.S. service members and the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Ceremonies are scheduled from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Southern Avenue and Dobson Road garden location, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. The public is invited to attend and refreshments will be served.

The dedication includes a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Never Forget Garden, planted exclusively in white roses. The significance of the white rose dates to 1921 when a bouquet of white roses was placed on the casket of an unknown WWI soldier indicating his selection as the first placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a historic monument located at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Unknown soldiers from later wars were added in 1958 and 1984 creating a sacred memorial that inspires reflection on service, valor, sacrifice and mourning.

Partnering with the MCC Veterans Day Planning Committee, the Mesa-East Valley Rose Society led the effort to design and plant the garden with 15 Ducher and Innocencia rose bushes which complement the existing white Honor roses and red Veterans Honor roses in the Veterans Garden, on the east end of the MCC Rose Garden, the largest public rose garden in the Desert Southwest. A Never Forget white rose, named to honor the centennial, will be planted when it becomes available.

“Planting white roses is an expression of our profound love, respect and pride in the millions who have served to preserve the United States of America,” said Mike Cryer, volunteer coordinator, captain of the Veterans Garden section of the garden and a member of the MCC Veterans Day Planning Committee. “White roses represent respect, remembrance, honor and admiration.”

Cryer, a Vietnam veteran, pointed out that as a veteran, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier carries an overarching recognition of all the men and women who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms Americans enjoy today. “It is very significant that the tomb is guarded 24/7 much as these warriors have guarded us over the years.”

Prior to the ribbon cutting, The event opens with the posting of the colors by the United States Army National Guard Honor Guard, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by local vocalist Jocelyn Kleinman. MCC Interim President Dr. Lori Berquam will give the welcome address

Dignitaries providing remarks include Bob Martin, the 56th president of the American Rose Society, who initiated national support for Never Forget Gardens across the country; and Matthew Scott, life member of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Scott, a resident of Goodyear, has deeply personal ties to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier through his grandfather and parents and will tell the story of how the white rose became a symbol for this national monument and the importance of the centennial “I want to make sure that people are aware of the centennial and what it means--that we will never forget those who gave everything for their country.”

Following remarks, 21 bells will ring in remembrance of the events of 1921 and in a symbolic gesture, white roses will be distributed to attendees. Guided tours of the garden are being provided following the ceremony. Click here to RSVP for the event.

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892 or 6025-471-5343

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) --

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Monday, November 1, 2021