Cold War Veterans Focus of the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Parade Celebrates 21 Years with Theme “Silent Sacrifice”

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 5:30 to 9 a.m.

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

Date: Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017

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 “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade has nearly 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Cold War Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature:

  • 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 – new this year – the military service and 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 5:30 a.m. Several entries will be available throughout the morning, including:

  • Arizona Public Service Float
  • Department of Corrections Float
  • POW/MIA/KIA Honor Guard
  • Arizona Twirlers
  • Specialty vehicles

Now in its 21st 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.

“I’ve been working with the parade team for five years now, and it’s still amazing to me to see how it helps our veterans heal. 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.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit

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)
  • Harold Bergbower, World War II (former Prisoner of War)
  • Melvin Brody, Korean War
  • Larry Leighton, Vietnam War (Purple Heart recipient)
  • Bernard O’Keefe, Cold War (8-time recipient of Meritorious Service Medal)
  • John Scott, Desert Storm (Retired Major General, Bronze Star recipient)
  • Raul Sanchez, Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Richard Arnold, Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Carol Culbertson, Veteran Community
  • Alan Powell “AP,” HeroZona
  • Craig Opel, Business Community
  • Katie Schaaf, Arizona Pageant Queen

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

  • 1st place: Ethan Brown, 11th grade, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • 2nd place: Ruby Price, 11th grade, Shadow Ridge High School
  • 3rd place: Craig Zeigler, 12th grade, Sunrise Mountain High School

Each writer shared a different perspective for this year’s theme “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.”

For the fifth year in a row Durant’s fine dining restaurant in Phoenix has provided cash awards for the essay contest winners: $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. In addition, the teacher for each of the students will receive a $150 gift card to use in his or her classroom.

The University of Phoenix and TriWest Healthcare Alliance 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.