Parades in Phoenix and Mesa, next Monday, will honor the men and women who donned a military uniform in service to their country.
Both the Veterans Day parade in Phoenix and the one in downtown Mesa start at 11 a.m. Nov. 11.
The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will head south on Central Avenue from Montebello Drive to Camelback Road, then turn east on Camelback Road to 7th Street and turn south on 7th Street and end at Indian School Road.
The East Valley Veterans Parade steps off at University Drive and Center Street and proceeds along Center south to W. First Street before heading west to W. Robson.
Last year, 40,000 spectators watched more than 2,000 parade participants from East Valley communities march.
The East Valley parade’s theme is “Commemorate and Celebrate,” acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the nation’s dedication of a day to honor veterans and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The East Valley Veterans Parade Association is an all-volunteer community event organization that relies on local businesses, organizations and individuals to accomplish the patriotic tribute.
It originally was the Mesa Veterans Parade until it fell victim to necessary budget cuts in 2006.
Local residents Gerry Walker and Frank “Gunny” Alger spoke out on behalf of the 40-year-old Mesa tradition, with Walker declaring, “There will be a Veterans Day parade if it is only me marching down the street with Frank watching.”
The Marine Corps League Saguaro Chapter in Mesa took the lead and the Mesa Veterans Parade Association was formed.
In 2013, the all-volunteer organization changed its name to the East Valley Veterans Parade Association to reflect the participation of parade entrants and sponsors from most East Valley communities.