World War I Centennial Focus of the 2018 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Parade Celebrates 22 Years with Theme “Out of the Trenches: A Century of Remembrance”

Glowing with tributes to our nation’s true heroes, our veterans, the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will once again be presented by Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV).

Time:  LIVE Shots available from 4:30 to 9 a.m.

Time:  Parade start 11 a.m., open to media

Date:  Monday, Nov. 12, 2018

Place:  Central and Montebello, south on Central, East on Camelback, and South on 7th Street to Indian School Road

This year’s parade theme is “OUT OF THE TRENCHES: A Century of Remembrance,” marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice to end World War I. The parade has more than 100 entries, and will also feature:

Actress Loretta Swit will once again serve as the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit: Actress, singer and dancer Loretta Swit will lead this year’s parade. Swit embraces the true compassion of animal advocacy and as such is striving to bring all Military K9 Working Dogs home from overseas. Working with HAV and the Military Working Dog parade entry, Swit will walk the entire route, collecting funds from spectators to help support this effort.  Please bring your dollar bills (or more) to support her in this cause.

In addition to Ms. Swit, the parade will also highlight:

  • 14 Floats
  • 12 Marching Units
  • 7 Color Guards
  • 8 novelty units
  • 5 bands
  • Four large helium balloons, including Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, the Purple Heart and the HAV balloon.
  • Dozens of military vehicles
  • We’ll also have animal entries, and much, much more.

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE:  Live shot availability will begin at 4:30 a.m. Several entries will be available throughout the morning, including:

  • World War 1 Liberty Truck
  • Department of Corrections Float
  • POW/MIA/KIA Honor Guard
  • Arizona Twirlers
  • Specialty vehicles

Now in its 22nd year, the parade is one of the premier Veterans Day events in the nation, with tens of thousands of spectators. Several streets will be closed to make way for the Parade.

“The men and women who serve in our military face many unique challenges, and when they return they are a source of pride for us. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice, so having an event, like this, shows the gratitude we have as a community for them. That in turn helps us to honor them and that’s why Honoring America’s’s Veterans puts on this event,” said Aaron Dudney, HAV president.

This year’s Parade Grand Marshals include:

  • Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit (Emmy Award-winning actress best known for “M*A*S*H,” animal activist, artist, veteran supporter)
  • Mike Rizzo’s World War II (Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient). (Sadly, not long after the Grand Marshals reception, Mr. Rizzo passed away; therefore, his family will represent him in his honor.)
  • Francis Doherty (Scottsdale), Korean War (Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient)
  • Santo Graziano (Phoenix), Vietnam War (Bronze Star recipient)
  • Anthony Irby (El Mirage), Cold War (saw action in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq)
  • Gene Wood (Glendale), Desert Storm (Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal recipient)
  • Ian Parkinson (Scottsdale), Operation Enduring Freedom (double amputee, Purple Heart recipient)
  • Abby Malchow (Scottsdale), Operation Iraqi Freedom (active in preventing veteran suicides)
  • Greg DeBernard of USAA, Business Community (U.S. Army veteran)

The parade will also feature the three Durant’s essay winners, who will ride in the “Hall of Flame” fire truck:

  • 1st place: Jake Marr, 11th grade, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • 2nd place: Alyssa Canales, 10th grade, Cactus Shadows High School
  • 3rd place: Aliyah Galvez, 10th grade, Basha High School

Each writer shared a different perspective for this year’s theme “OUT OF THE TRENCHES: A Century of Remembrance.”

For the sixth year in a row, Durant’s fine dining restaurant in Phoenix has provided cash awards for the essay contest winners: $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. In addition, the teacher for each of the students will receive $150 to use in his or her classroom.

The University of Phoenix and USAA hold the top spots for sponsorship of this event and have veteran and civilian employees in the parade.

The Stearman Group – World War II bi-planes led by Roger Parrish and Fred Gorrell – followed by Joe Sottile, Kurt Gearhart and Billie Walker, will once again officially start the parade with their flyover.


Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Honors Veterans of All Eras with Grand Marshal Selections

PHOENIX, AZ – This year’s Veterans Grand Marshals of the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, have earned some of our nation’s highest honors, including Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and more. Selectees for 2018 are:

  • WWII-Mike Rizzo (Scottsdale), U.S. ArmyThis Purple Heart recipient was close to not coming back from his service overseas five times, and the memories of those close calls remain vivid in his memory.
  • Korean War-Francis Doherty (Scottsdale), U.S. ArmyThis machine gunner provided cover fire to ensure the rest of his division could get to safety during a 1951 battle; his efforts earned him a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
  • Vietnam-Santo Graziano (Phoenix), U.S. Army – A Bronze Star recipient and the founder of the Food for the Poor Project here in the Valley, Graziano’s time in Vietnam taught him to appreciate even more the little things we often take for granted in the U.S.
  • Cold War-Anthony Irby (El Mirage), U.S. Armyafter joining during the Cold War, Irby participated in the campaigns for the Defense of Saudi Arabia, the Liberation of Kuwait, and in Iraq; personal battles with homelessness and PTSD didn’t stop him.
  • Desert Storm-Gene Wood (Glendale), U.S. ArmyAmong his other military accomplishments, Wood fielded the Saudi Army’s first attack helicopter battalion; he has been awarded the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal, among others.
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom-Abby Malchow (Scottsdale), U.S. NavyMalchow, who is committed to and has advocated for veteran suicide prevention on Capitol Hill, led an all-male crew (including three Iraqis) while deployed to Iraq in 2006.
  • Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)-Ian Parkinson (Scottsdale), U.S. ArmyDespite losing both legs from an IED encounter while serving in Afghanistan, this 28-year-old Purple Heart recipient continues to serve and motivate others.

“This year’s parade has a significant impact on history as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I,” said Honoring America’s’s President Aaron Dudney.  “It’s quite an honor for our community to learn more about these veterans, the conflicts in which they served, and to do so this year as we tie to WW1 Commemorations around the globe,” he added.

This year’s Celebrity Grand Marshal is Loretta Swit, of M*A*S*H fame.  As an animal lover, she will be walking the route with a goal of collecting $1 each from attendees to help bring more military canines home from overseas and ensure they are placed in good homes.

The Veterans Grand Marshals will participate in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12 in Central Phoenix. The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade has been billed as one of the largest in spectator attendance across the country and is now in its 22nd year. The parade is presented by Honoring America’s’s Veterans, a 501©3 non-profit whose mission is to honor and recognize those military service members who have served our country.