Honoring America’s Veterans is announcing that after thoughtful consideration of the restrictions and guidelines in place because of COVID-19, we are unable to host the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade in 2020.
“The health and well-being of our nation’s veterans, our parade participants, and guests, as well as that of our volunteers, is our number one priority,” said Brian Ishmael, President of Honoring America’s Veterans. “This is not what any of us wanted, but we need to mind the challenges we face with COVID-19.”
Enjoyed by tens of thousands each year in person, this is the first time in its history the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will not occur since its inception on November 11, 1997
“Although the parade is several months away, it takes planning and preparation to put on such a large-scale special event,” said Paula Pedene, Parade Founder. “Additionally, our Veterans Service Organizations typically take months to plan their floats, entries, and round up volunteers to gather in a place that currently isn’t in compliance with public health guidelines. While we are disappointed, we will not be able to meet in person; we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19”, she said.
“We all know what the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade means to us, as well as the significance of Veterans Day around the world,” said Howard Doyle, Commander of the Perch Base Submarine Unit. “We had been in the parade since its inception 24 years ago, but now we need to take responsibility to help keep our veterans and our community safe,” he added.
Many of our veterans represent high-risk groups for COVID-19 complications, such as those from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. In addition, many veterans have unique health challenges due to their exposure to wartime effects such as Agent Orange, Post Traumatic Stress, etc.
HAV was also advised by health leaders that gathering thousands of parade participants and spectators in a two-mile space where they are often within a foot of each other, has the potential to create a high-risk environment for viral spread, including those termed as super-spreaders events.
“Although HAV will not be hosting its 24th annual Parade, we will celebrate Veterans Day with a special celebration called USA, A Beacon of Liberty. We are collaborating with the City of Phoenix, our broadcast partners, and sponsors, elected officials, and public health officials in exploring new and safe ways we can continue to honor America’s veterans on their special day,” said Pedene.
“We’re still going to honor our veterans and help educate students about the importance of their service to our county. HAV will host an Honor Our Heroes veteran’s recognition campaign. We will also continue our Essay competition for High School students throughout the state of Arizona and award cash prizes for the winners”, added Ishmael.
The Honor Our Heroes campaign and Essay competition are now open for nominations. You can learn how to nominate veterans and submit essays at www.honoringamericasveterans.org.