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Phoenix Veterans Day Parade expected to draw tens of thousands

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A crowd of 50,000 was expected to watch Phoenix’s Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday morning.

The day’s theme is No Longer Forgotten: Honoring Our Korean War Veterans. There will be more than 100 floats but one entry will be particularly special. That float will feature nearly 20 Korean War veterans.

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

The parade will also feature high school marching bands, JROTC marching units, color guards, veterans service organizations, animals, novelty units and more.

One of the centerpieces will be a Huey helicopter that was shot down on Valentine’s Day 1969 in Vietnam. Two aboard were killed. That Huey has been fully restored by artist Steve Maloney.

“The Huey will travel around the United States to bring awareness to veterans with PTSD and be a healing helicopter,” said Maloney, who founded the project.

He said it took about two years to restore the helicopter.

(Facebook Photo/Stephen Zapantis )

(Facebook Photo/Stephen Zapantis )

“It’s the proudest thing I’ve done,” Maloney said. “One vet came up to me the other day and said ‘Thank you. This has inspired me to get some help.’ When you hear that, that’s the mission.”

This is the 19th year of the parade, which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., starting at Central and Montebello avenues.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey released a statement, which read, in part:

“We’re reminded on this occasion how blessed we are to live in the freest, most prosperous nation on earth. More importantly, we’re reminded of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen throughout history who’ve risked everything to make that possible.”

The parade route runs southbound on Central, turns east onto Camelback Road and then south on Seventh Street, and ends at Indian School Road. The route is about 2½ miles.