Since 1997, the night before each Veterans Day, I’ll turn to the Farmer’s Almanac to get a glimpse of the weather forecast and try to prepare accordingly. After all, our Parade Team has been relaying to thousands of parade entries, be ready. The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, rain, or shine. In addition to the weather, there are usually other uncertainties tugging at my heart. Are the Parade safety measures in place and ready for the 45,00 spectators? Is the Parade Team prepared to tackle the long day ahead? Do we have answers for the hundreds of questions we need to field from the entries, the spectators, and others? Do we have the right visuals for the morning television live shots? Are we ready to render VIP treatment to our veterans, our donors, and sponsors to make this a tribute to remember?
Our military training and Parade contingency plans include several scenarios to prepare accordingly. But never in any of our decades of planning, dialogues and discussions did we ever think something we could not even see would be so disruptive. Yet, that is what is happening to the 2020 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
Instead of an in-person event, we will air the USA, A Beacon of Liberty at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, on both the Honoring America’s Veterans Facebook and YouTube pages. It is typically the same time and day that the parade kicks off.
Despite COVID, our veterans’ resilience and the dreams our students have for the USA are still a part of our tribute this year. In working on the “taped” part of the show, there are numerous times where our veterans and essay winners bring tears to my eyes. In particular, when Vietnam veteran Tom Kirk, a former Prisoner of War, speaks to his experience in the Hanoi Hilton, or where you see the beauty of dreams in the eyes of High School student Xoshill Saldana talk to the grace America provides.
Fortunately for our nonprofit, Honoring America’s Veterans, television stations are supporting us. You can watch the show at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 on KTVK-TV3, Arizona’s Family. You can also tune to your local Government Access Channels on Cable 11 to see it too. And last but certainly not least, you can join HAV in partnership with KAZ-TV7 as we stream the event live at 11 a.m. on our Facebook and YouTube pages. For broadcast updates, go online to www.honoringamericasveterans.org.
We hope you can take some time to join us as we wish our veterans and their families a Happy Veterans Day!