Above: American flags at Albuquerque's Fairview Cemetery mark the graves of veterans, whose collective service begins with the Civil War and runs through the Korean War at Fairview Memorial Park. Photograph by Gabriella Marks.
1 Celebrate Veterans Day with …
A commemorative film series.
The Veterans Journey Home, a five-film series of documentary shorts by acclaimed filmmaker Frederick Marx (Hoop Dreams), focuses on the inner battles that military heroes face. Haunted by the horrors of war, these veterans seek peace as they master the burdens of their past. All films in the series play Thursday and Friday at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. Marx hosts Q&A sessions after the screenings, and veterans and military professionals get in free.
A ceremony at New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial.
A parade of flags, music, speakers, and a fallen hero ceremony are part of the Veterans Day event at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial on Thursday. The 25-acre space dedicates itself to vets year-round but makes this day special with a ceremony of gratitude from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Day camp at the Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
At the Museum of Nuclear Science and History’s single-day Veterans Day Camp for kids (7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.), younger kiddos (K through second grade) learn about insects and make a beeswax candle and a replica of a bug’s exoskeleton. The older kids (third to sixth grade) delve into magnetism, building their own compasses and creating a magnetic pyramid.
“As part of the service in commemoration of Veterans Day, I like to incorporate a special thank you,” says Lisa Guida, the Albuquerque museum’s director of education. “It’s a way for kids to thank veterans for their service and also learn about science.”
Registration is required, and your child should bring two snacks, lunch, and a water bottle. Scholarships are available for families who need help with the $70 camp fee.
A tour of Historic Fairview Cemetery.
The 12,000 graves at the Historic Fairview Cemetery in Albuquerque tell stories about the people who occupy them, creating a unique picture of the Duke City’s history. The burial ground became an official cemetery in 1881. It grew to become the place where Albuquerque’s founding families interred their loved ones, complete with mausoleums and winding lanes modeled after cemeteries on the East Coast.
Amid the graves, visitors will find headstones marking the resting spots of infants, governors, socialites, and Buffalo Soldiers. The cemetery celebrates Veterans Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free admission and speakers telling stories throughout the park. Take a self-guided tour (download the map here) and listen to talks by Melanie LaBorwit, an educator at the New Mexico History Museum, and author John Taylor, who wrote The Battle of Glorieta Pass.
Free admission to state parks.
Current and former military servicemen and their families are welcome to enjoy any of New Mexico’s state parks for day use and overnight camping on Thursday, free of charge. “This Veterans Day, we want to honor and thank all New Mexico veterans for their service by offering free access to their 35 state parks for their enjoyment,” says Toby Velasquez, director of New Mexico State Parks. “I want to also recognize our many former and current state park staff for their service to our country.”
2 Explore biodiversity through art.
Monique Carr has a deep connection to the land. Using locally foraged ingredients from the Río Grande bosque in Albuquerque, she makes effervescent elderflower, pomegranate, and prickly pear shrubs for her company, Spellbound Syrups.
Her Creative Residency exhibition at SITE Santa Fe—an ode to the natural abundance of the high desert—opens Sunday. “The project is multi-sensory and immersive,” Carr says. “It shows the botanical and agricultural diversity that exists in Albuquerque. Everything we shot and harvested was near the bosque.”
She created a film with Indigenous filmmaker Echota Killsnight, documenting her harvesting process. “We started with elderflower, and then went through the season all the way to prickly pear,” says Carr. “The film soundtrack is all sounds from the outdoors while we’re harvesting, like birds in the bosque, crunching leaves, and insects.”
Sip two different shrubs Carr curated specifically for the opening event. “One is a warm shrub that is very comforting,” she says. “It’s made with locally harvested osha, and quince I got from my neighbor.” The other is a triple prickly pear shrub, with fresh prickly pear juice, fermented juice, and vinegar made with prickly pear, served over ice.
3 See jazz greats perform.
The Taos Center for the Arts buzzes with sound this weekend as the Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival takes center stage. Thursday features Grace Kelly, who has graced the Taos festival with her stunning vocals and saxophone talent for the better part of a decade. She’s worked with icons like Lin Manuel Miranda, Questlove, Harry Connick Jr., and Gloria Estefan.
The George Cables Trio takes the stage Friday, performing unique, bebop-based modern jazz. The Django Festival Allstars, a swing ensemble from France, perform Saturday. The festival ends Sunday with a screening of the film Life & Life at 2:30 p.m. There is no charge to see the documentary about Reggie Austin, a pianist who spent time (and crossed paths with Frank Morgan) in San Quentin State Prison before becoming a lauded jazz musician. All events require proof of vaccination, and attendees must wear masks.
4 Listen to the U.S. poet laureate.
Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Nation) takes the stage at the Río Grande Theatre in Las Cruces on Saturday at 5 p.m. Her words echo in your mind long after reading them; she speaks to the soul and awakens it. And that’s why she is in her second term as the United States poet laureate.
Harjo will read a selection from her award-winning book, An American Sunrise, followed a short Q&A and a book signing. The evening concludes Las Cruces’ Big Read series. The event is free, but seating is limited.
5 Get a jump on holiday shopping.
It is nearly the most wonderful time of the year, and local makers and artists are busy toiling away to prepare for the holiday rush. Get a jumpstart on your gift search and support those artisans at the Second Saturday Art Hop in Truth or Consequences on Saturday. The High Desert Holidaze Makers Market joins the monthly downtown art hop from 3–7 p.m. on the Healing Waters Plaza.