In a COVID-19-safe twist, the East Valley Veterans Parade will take place this year in downtown Mesa in reverse.
At least 30 parade entries will be stationed along the parade route on Center Street 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 and the spectators will become the parade. Residents from throughout the Valley will be encouraged to decorate their automobiles in patriotic themes, according to a release.
Vehicles will enter the parade route from University Drive and Centennial Way, proceed west on Martin Luther King Jr. Way and south on Center Street to view the displays. Drivers will be directed west on 1st Street to exit the parade route. All vehicles should arrive no earlier than 10:15 a.m. for the event. Details on the parade route and participating entries are on the East Valley Veterans Parade website at www.evvp.org.
The “reverse” parade has the theme “Celebrating Lives of Service” as 2020 emphasizes the thanks we should extend to those in military uniforms as well as first responders and front line health care workers.
This year’s grand marshal is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, who served as a medical officer in the Navy for 11 years, where he received the Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Achievement Medal. He then served as chief of residents at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was selected to be staff internist at the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He was the only physician on duty, along with four corpsmen, during the 1998 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Together, they provided immediate on-scene emergency response during the attack. Dr. Jasser is currently in private practice in Phoenix, the release states.
Prior to the parade, a brief program will be held at 10:45 a.m. to recognize veterans for their service to our country. It will include remarks from Mesa Mayor John Giles and the grand marshal along with the playing of our National Anthem.
The following streets are scheduled to be closed by 6 a.m. for the parade:
• Center Street, University Drive to First Street
• Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Center Street to Centennial Way
• Third Place at Center Street
• Second Street at Center Street
All streets should reopen by 4 p.m. Traffic can detour around the parade route by using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive and Brown Road.