The East Valley Veterans Parade returns to downtown Mesa on Veterans Day, tomorrow, Nov. 11. This year’s parade has the theme ”Generations of Valor.”
“We have well over 100 entries and it’s just an amazing event honoring those who have kept us free,” said Melissa Forrester, vice president of the East Valley Veterans Parade. “It helps us honor our veterans while connecting them with community, and that’s very important. If we value an all-volunteer force in this country, we have to complete a pathway where they can serve and then come out and do something else. So, education is a big part of this (event).”
Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Borden, honorary grand marshal of the parade and director of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center at Arizona State University, said the event is a way of connecting our community with the veteran community.
“I’m privileged to be a part of it this year,” Borden said, “I feel there is a generation gap from the last stages of the Cold War that ended in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Cindy McCain, wife of well-known veteran Sen. John McCain, said she wished everyone would think about veterans all year, not just on Veterans Day.
“Let’s take pride in our country and try to live everyday like that,” McCain said.
The parade will begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Center Street and University Drive and will travel south on Center Street and turn west on First Street. The parade will continue on First Street to Robson, where it will end.
Prior to the parade, at 10:25 a.m., a brief program will include “A Hero’s Welcome.” This program recognizes and honors nominated active military or retired veterans who are city of Mesa residents for their service to our country.
The following streets are scheduled to be closed for the parade:
7 a.m. (parade staging)
- Center Street – 6th Street to University Drive (no northbound traffic)
- Center Street – at Brown Road (local traffic only southbound from Brown)
- Center Street – at 8th Place (reduced to one southbound lane to University Drive)
- 8th Street – Center to Mesa Drive (local traffic only; Mesa Drive to Fitch Park driveway)
- Center Street – University Drive to Pepper Place
- 3rd Place – Center Street to Drew
- MLK Way – Center Street to Centennial Way
- 2nd Street – at Center Street
- 2nd Street – Robson to Country Club Drive
- 1st Street – Centennial Way to Country Club Drive
- Macdonald – Pepper Place to 2nd Street
- Robson – Pepper Place to 2nd Street
- Morris – 1st Street to 2nd Street
- University Drive – Mesa Drive to Country Club Drive
All streets should reopen by 2 p.m. Traffic can detour around the parade route by using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive and Brown Road.
In addition to the parade, the city of Mesa will present the second “Benefit Concert to House Mesa’s Homeless Veterans.” The concert will be from noon to 3 p.m. at the Mesa Arts Center Alliance Pavilion Stage, 1 E. Main St. It will include performances from Walt Richardson, Robby Roberson Band and smootmahooty! There will also be food trucks and children’s activities.
All donations from the concert will benefit the Housing Mesa’s Heroes program, a partnership with the city of Mesa and various regional and local agencies to help veterans find stable housing and the necessary support services they need to help them stay there. Online donations can be made at www.communitybridgesaz.org/contribute. After clicking on the “Donate” tab, type “Housing Mesa’s Heroes” in the Tribute Name field.
The city of Mesa will be closed in observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Trash and recycle barrels will be on the normal collection schedule. Residents should have their containers out no later than 6 a.m. All bus and light rail routes will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule.
The closure includes libraries and the Webster and Jefferson recreation centers. The Red Mountain Recreation and Fitness Center will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Red Mountain Active Adult Center, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Oakwood Creative Care, from 7 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. The Dobson Ranch Golf Course will be open and the Kino Aquatic Center and Skyline Aquatic Center will be open for adult lap swimming
The Mesa Arts Center will be open with several events taking place including the benefit concert. While the box office will be open, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, The Store and administrative offices will be closed. The Arizona Museum of Natural History and Arizona Museum for Youth will also be closed.
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.