Veterans Day activities adapt to new reality

Despite the health and safety challenges facing Veterans Day activities, there are leaders in our community who have determined the “show must go on,” albeit with some adaptions. Here are a few organizations taking the lead in honoring our veterans on Wednesday, November 11.


Liberty Performance Training is partnering with Quality Resilience Fitness to sponsor the QRF Buddy Team Drive to raise money for veterans’ mental health awareness. With a $20-$30 fee to enter, singles or groups can test their mettle as they move a loaded, weight-adjusted Husafel stone (used as a test of endurance for hundreds of years in Iceland) as far as possible within 20 minutes. The significance of the time is the sobering fact that every twenty minutes, a veteran commits suicide. Winners will receive a commemorative t-shirt.


Honoring America’s Veterans will host a virtual Veterans Day event instead of the annual parade that has taken place for the past 23 years. The virtual celebration, dubbed “USA, A Beacon of Liberty,” will stream live on Honoring America’s Veterans’ YouTube and Facebook pages at

11 a.m. on November 11. They are also shifting the role of the traditional Veterans Grand Marshals to “Honor our Heroes” honorees, according to Executive Director Paula Pedene. The hour-long event will honor seven veterans from World War II to the present. Phoenix’s mayor will speak, and there will also be a band. “It will be a healing event,” Pedene said, “where we give thanks and gratitude to our veterans.” The organization is also sponsoring an essay competition for high school students throughout the Valley, with cash prizes for each grade.


For 13 years, the City of Mesa’s legendary Veterans Day parade has attracted around 20,000 spectators. With safety being the dominant concern this year, the parade will have a twist. “This year, attendees will actually ‘be the parade’ as they view static Veterans displays from the safety of their cars while driving along the parade route,” East Valley Parade Association President Lisa Sandoval said. The National Guard, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Affairs and other civic and community groups will be parked along the route with banners and displays. Five-ton trucks, helicopters, and a replica of the USS Arizona will also be on display. The band “To Serve” will be performing. “Our veterans’ service to the community doesn’t end when they take their uniform off,” Sandoval said. “They typically become first responders, health care professionals, teachers and even Scout leaders. That is why our theme this year is Celebrating Lives of Service.”

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CLS will be giving veterans lots of much-needed recognition this Veterans Day as well. Thanks to student brainstorming, the school will sponsor a drive-through parade in contrast to their annual Veterans Breakfast. “Preschoolers through 8th graders will be holding signs and balloons,” Community Outreach Coordinator Megan Gotshall said. Humvees from Luke Air Force Base will be displayed as well. In conjunction with the Packages from Home organization, students will decorate care package boxes and collect items to fill them. “The community is encouraged to donate money for postage or bring in non-perishable items for the boxes,” Gotshall said. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. Cars should enter at 40th St. and Piccadilly Road.

Contact Megan Gotshall at