2014 Veteran Grand Marshal Ernest Urquieta waves at the crowd.

Honor Our Heroes Veterans Grand Marshals Competition is now open through July 14

Honoring America’s Veterans (HAV) is hosting the “Honor Our Heroes” Veterans Grand Marshal Competition again. Winners of the Competition will be honored as the veteran grand marshals at this year’s Phoenix Veterans Day Parade set for 11 a.m.,  Saturday, November 11, 2023. This year’s parade theme is “Never Forget. Forever Honor.”

“The Parade is such a beautiful tribute to honor our veterans from all eras, and we are grateful to Arizonans who continue to love and support the price these men and women have paid for our freedom. We will never forget their sacrifices and honor their courage,” said HAV’s Executive Director Paula Pedene.

In the past, the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade has seen some of the largest attendance of spectators amongst the state’s Veterans Day activities, including more than 45,000 people lining the streets to honor the service of America’s veterans. The “Honor Our Heroes” honorees serve as Veteran Grand Marshals for the Parade and are recognized for their service and heroism at events before, during, and after the Parade.

The 2023 “Honor our Heroes” nominee competition selects recipients from each era of service who then represent their comrades. Eras include:

  • World War II − 1941 to 1945
  • The Korean War − 1950 to 1953
  • The Vietnam War − 1958 to 1975
  • Cold War − 1945 to 1991
  • Desert Storm − 1990 to 1991
  • Operation Enduring Freedom − 2001 to ongoing
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom − 2003 to 2011

The nomination process can be meticulous as it calls for nominators to speak to the veteran to capture their story and provide verification of military service, a listing of service medals and special operations, community service after leaving the military, and sharing highlights of accomplishments both past and present.

“One of the mistakes we see people make is thinking they can do this as a “surprise” for the honoree. Unless you have access to many of their details and times of service, those nominations tend to miss the mark. The ones who seem to score the highest and capture the judges’ hearts are those who provide compelling stories,” Pedene added.

Winners will be invited to ride in the Parade and be recognized by announcers at the eight-speaker towers along the parade route. Their nominations will also be printed in the published parade program and on HAV’s website before and after the event. The honorees may also be featured in local media and receive Veterans Day commemorative items. Nominators will receive VIP Seating at the Parade, seating for two at the Parade Awards Ceremony, and other memorabilia. HAV is partnering with KTAR in the promotion of the event.

Nominations are open now and are due by July 14, 2023. Nomination guidelines are online at https://honoringamericasveterans.org/honor-our-heroes/.


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