More than 100 entries are expected to participate in the 14th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 11. The event typically attracts thousands of spectators along the Mission Hills parade route just outside of the San Fernando city limits.
Instead of just one individual, this year’s parade Grand Marshall will feature representatives from American Veterans United Inc, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Moorpark that assists veterans and their family members secure post-service benefits.
Scheduled dignitaries in the parade will include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the 2013 Grand Marshall. Garcetti was a lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve; only Veterans, active duty members or reservists are allowed to ride in the parade
Coordinator Fred Flores said the oldest Veteran expected to be in the parade is 100-year-old Alvin I. Solomon of Tarzana, an Army Private First Class who served in the Pacific during World War II from 1941-45. Other war era Veterans who served in Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq are expected to appear.
Alejandro Castillo, a former Marine, will have a Temper Fidelis booth available to take free pictures of all Veterans attending the parade.
Flores got the idea for the parade in 2004 from his late son Alfred. The two had gone to watch a Veterans parade in Long Beach for several years when Alfred asked his father, “Why not have one here so we don’t have to get up so early and travel to be in a parade” — at that time Long Beach was the closest city to San Fernando that hosted a Veterans parade — that should be in our backyard?”
Alfred was tragically killed in 2009 from a gunshot wound to his upper body while in Northridge.
The parade route begins at the corner of Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission boulevards at 11:11 a.m, and will continue 1.1 miles south on Laurel Canyon, ending at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center on the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Paxton Street.
There is also an annual carnival at the recreation center that opens on Friday, nov. 10, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 12. Part of the proceeds help defray the costs of the event.
Expect highway off-ramps and local streets along the parade route to be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.