By Michelle Chance
It was a morning decorated with patriotism and appreciation for the men and women who served our country.
IF YOU GO
What: Veterans Day Parade
When: Nov. 10 at 9 a.m.
Where: Porter Road
Veterans from many eras, young and old, participated in Maricopa’s inaugural Veterans Day Parade last November. Many said they are looking forward to doing it again this year on Nov. 10.
Maricopa resident Gary Lee Erickson served from 1969 to 1971 as the cannoneer in a M42 Duster tank in the 6th Calvary, 1st Brigade of the U.S. Army. A member of the local American Legion Post 133 and participant in last year’s parade, Erickson said he was humbled by the support displayed by spectators.
It’s also a way for veterans themselves to pay respect to the nation.
“Marching in the parade is not for glory, but to show our pride in our country and our flag,” Erickson said.
Organizer Gabriela Potter, president of the American Legion Auxiliary of Maricopa Post 133, said she and an array of other volunteers, began organizing and fundraising for this year’s event almost as soon as last year’s ended.
The celebratory event is one that has come together in its first two years entirely by the community, Potter said. Staff from many city departments, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Tortosa Homeowners Association, local veterans’ groups, schools, restaurants and small businesses have contributed their time to the effort.
“We want to thank the community for helping us make it a success last year, and we hope that this year we can do great things to continue this tradition for many years,” Potter said.
The route along Porter Road is much the same, but instead of beginning at Legacy Traditional School, participants will meet just east of the charter school campus at Central Arizona College on Bowlin Road.
The parade will end at Leading Edge Academy, where veterans will again be treated to a complimentary luncheon and performances by schoolchildren.
Veterans will also have free transportation at the beginning of the event from Leading Edge Academy to CAC provided by the city’s COMET service and Totalride.
It’s a labor of love done to promote patriotism and education of our country’s brave soldiers, Potter said.
Veteran Don Sazama served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1965. The Maricopa resident for the past decade said the city’s first parade made veterans feel very appreciated.
His view from a parade float granted him the view of grateful civilians. “There were a lot of people standing in their yards and waving at us and it made us feel good,” Sazama said.
Besides the common expression of thanking veterans for their services, servicemembers said there are other ways to acknowledge veterans during events like this.
“Civilians honor us just by attending the parade and when the colors pass they should put their hands over their hearts,” said Erickson, the Army veteran.
This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.