Annual Veterans Day Parade marches through streets of central Phoenix
Nov 11, 2023, 5:55 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm
PHOENIX — More than 45,000 spectators gathered in celebration along the streets of central Phoenix to honor our nation’s heroes in the annual Veterans Day Parade.
This year’s theme was “Never Forget. Forever Honor,” as more than 80 participant entries, ROTC marching units, marching bands, the Sun City Poms (a performance club made up of women 55 years and older), pageant queens and a red, white and blue eagle balloon were all part of the festivities.
The parade began at 11 a.m. and headed south on Central Avenue from Montebello Drive to Camelback Road, before turning east on Camelback Road to 7th Street, then turning south on 7th Street. It ended at Indian School Road.
Kim Alexis was the celebrity grand marshal. The 1980s model and actress lives in Scottsdale and has had over 500 worldwide magazine covers including Vogue, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and the record for Glamour. She also appeared in six Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues.
Alexis was joined by seven veteran grand marshals:
- U.S. Marine Corps – World War II veteran, Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay
- U.S. Navy – Korean War veteran Jerry Hecht
- U.S. Marine Corps – Vietnam War veteran Col. Herbert Pierpan
- U.S. Marine Corps – Cold War veteran Hugues Byrne
- U.S. Army – Desert Storm/Persian Gulf War veteran Patricia Little-Upah
- U.S. Air Force – Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Jeff DeVore
- U.S. Army – Operation Enduring Freedom veteran Amanda Tallman
The six essay competition winners who were honored were:
- Clairet Riesgref, Grade 9, Arizona College Prep
- Shandiin Harrison, Grade 10, Mesquite High School
- Diego Lenzi, Grade 11, Seton Catholic Prep
- Brueklyn Curley, Grade 12, Maryvale High School
- Eduardo Rios Fierro, Grade 12, Coronado High School
The Parade (and Veterans Day) is held on Nov. 11 each year as that is the day known as Armistice Day. The Armistice, or truce, that ended World War I started on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade started in 1997.