The annual East Valley Veterans Parade will honor our nation’s veterans at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in downtown Mesa.
With more than 90 entries, the parade begins at the Center Street and University Drive intersection. It 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.
This year’s parade has the theme “Raise the Flag,” recognizing the impact of various flags and their importance to our military veterans. Parade participants are invited to fly their flags. Information about the parade is available at evvp.org.
The grand marshal is U.S. Army Col. Bruce Crandall, retired, who received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, in 2007 for his heroic actions as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Crandall, a former public works manager for the city of Mesa, was a technical adviser for the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers.” One of the main characters is based on Crandall and was portrayed by actor Greg Kinnear.
Prior to the parade, at 10:40 a.m., a brief program will recognize veterans for their service to our country. It will include remarks from Mesa Mayor John Giles.
To celebrate and honor service members, the Arizona Museum of Natural History and i.d.e.a. Museum are offering free admission on Nov. 11 for veterans and active military, plus three additional guests (up to four guests per party). The Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field Airport is offering free admission to anyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces. A Bells of Peace Observance will be held at the museum at 11 a.m.
Other Veterans Day observances in Mesa include the Royal Air Force Cadet Memorial Service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at Mesa Cemetery, 1212 N. Center St. The service, presented by the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona, honors the 23 British cadets and one American pilot killed in air accidents during Falcon Field’s four years as a training facility for U.S. and British fighter pilots during World War II. Those individuals are buried in a special section of the Mesa Cemetery. This observance has been held in Mesa annually for more than 30 years.