The East Valley says thanks to those who served The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

The East Valley says thanks to those who served

The East Valley says thanks to those who served


From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Wednesday, Nov. 11, residents are encouraged to grab their family, decorate their car or truck in patriotic themes and head to the annual East Valley Veterans Parade to thank the men and women who protected and served our nation.

This year, the pandemic and the need to maintain social distance has prompted organizers to present a novel twist – a parade in reverse.

As many as 30 parade entries will be stationed along the East Valley parade route on Center Street in Mesa while the spectators drive their own vehicles and in effect become the parade as they stop by those entries.

“Residents from throughout the Phoenix region are encouraged to decorate their automobiles in patriotic themes to express appreciation for lives of service as they drive through the parade route to view the parade entries,” organizers said.

Displays include a military helicopter, a large-scale replica of the USS Arizona provided by the
Lt. Frank Luke Jr. Memorial Museum, the annual display of our region’s Fallen Soldiers, a tank, and much more.

Flyovers will occur throughout the three hours.

In addition, there will be a radio broadcast of live patriotic music and parade information available to tune into on your car radio.

Look for signs noting the radio frequency as you arrive at the spectator vehicle waiting area near University Drive and Center Street.

“As it became obvious that the traditional parade format would not be feasible in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, we looked for a new way of holding our annual event to honor and thank our active and retired military as a community,” said Lisa Sandoval, EVVP president and parade director.

“This way, the parade will go on and people will still have an opportunity to support past and present members of our military through an active and public display.”

This year’s parade theme is “Celebrating Lives of Service,” in recognition of both military service on behalf of our country as well as the many ways veterans continue to serve their communities through first responder and medical careers, as well as ongoing volunteer service – vital parts of our nation’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The parade will start at University and Center Streets and head south to 1st Street.

Details on participating entries are on the East Valley Veterans Parade website at and at

The parade was born out of two local residents’ passion and economic hardship.

When the annual Mesa Veterans Parade 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.

Indeed, Walker vowed, “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.

Donations to this nonprofit are tax-deductible.

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