Veterans Day parade troops through downtown
The 92nd annual Veterans Day parade once again flowed through the streets and colored downtown Tucson on Friday morning with red, white and blue stripes.
The parade has taken place every year since 1919 honoring the sacrifices of the men and women enlisted or retired from the armed services.
The parade, which took a different route than in the past, started at the corner of Granada Avenue and Alameda Street at 10 a.m. and continued around the square block, ending at Granada Avenue and Franklin Street.
Military personnel, various veterans groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, floats, military vehicles, along with ROTC drill teams and 5 different local high school bands all participated in the event.
The Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing, based at Tucson International Airport, was also scheduled to do flybys during different parades and ceremonies today throughout Southern Arizona.
"I came today to pay tribute to my uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather, who were all in the military," said Andrea Gibson who stood and watched the parade.
Last year, due to city budget cuts, organizers of the parade were concerned that they could not continue with the November observance. But, with donations and the hard work of American Legion Post 7, the parade continued without a hitch.
"It has become a family tradition to come every year and from what I can tell there are just as many participants in the parade this year as previous years," said Bob Erbe, who is enlisted in the Air force.
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is a common misunderstanding, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Memorial Day, which is the fourth Monday in May, honors American service members who died in service or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans living or dead.
Many families of enlisted military personal and military veterans lined the streets to watch the parade go by.
Army vet Patrick McNally, who stood on the sidelines of the parade with his family, said that we are lucky to have so many people willing to risk their lives because we wouldn't have the freedom we do in this country if it weren't for the military.
As of 2010, there were 21.8 million military veterans in the United States, and 556,700 veterans in Arizona alone, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"All of these flags you see people waving around were from the East Lawn and South Lawn cemeteries, which is where I work," said Jim Gibson.
"I wanted to make sure people could show their support," he said.
Many veterans not in the parade also came to show their support.
"I was in the army during the Korean War and I brought my granddaughter along to watch so she could appreciate looking at all of the different branches of military," said Ed Segerstrom.
Almost everyone who attended the parade seemed to either have family that was enlisted in the military or know someone who is currently serving in the armed forces.
Mathew Livigni, whose father served in the Air Force, sat on a bicycle with his son—who wore a green helmet with a jumpsuit covered in military patches—and watched as the parade went by.
Livigni said that his son is going through an Army phase right now and just loves soldiers.
"I want to be in the Air Force," said Marquise Livigni. "I mean, I already have all the patches!"