This Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, join more than 40,000 of your East Valley neighbors at the East Valley Veterans Parade. This all-volunteer community event has been taking place annually in downtown Mesa for more than 50 years.
The festivities begin at 10:30 a.m., with the official parade kick-off at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Center Street and University in downtown Mesa. More than 2,000 people will walk, march and ride in the parade, which continues south on Center St. to 1st St. then turns west onto 1st and continues to Robson. The parade, featuring military vehicles, floats, motorcycles, horses and more, lasts approximately 1 ½ hours.
High school marching bands, dancers in sparkling costumes and flag bearers will add sound and color to this wonderful community expression of pride and gratitude. Representatives of every military branch will participate, including the parade’s Grand Marshal Major General David P. Rataczak whose 43 years of distinguished service with the U.S. Army culminated in his position as The Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard.
A parade entry that has participated since 2012 is the Official Arizona Centennial Legacy Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory – Ladies and Gentlemen of the Regiment, Headquarters Mesa, Arizona (Buffalo Soldiers). This organization is dedicated to keeping history alive by educating people on the significant contributions of these proud soldiers of color who served from 1866 – 1902. Members dress in authentic uniforms and period clothing indicative of how people dressed in that time. The organization was awarded the Official State Proclamation “Buffalo Soldiers Day,” June 19, 2009 to present and was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2016.
The East Valley Veterans Parade is an opportunity for area residents to personally honor and remember the service of member of the military who safeguard our freedoms. It is a once-a-year chance to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women from our East Valley region who have sacrificed so much on our behalf; some to the point of giving their lives. For more information, visit www.evvp.org.