The 16th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade will stride proudly along Laurel Canyon Boulevard — between San Fernando Mission Boulevard and Paxton Street — on Monday, Nov. 11.
The event is considered the largest Veterans Day Parade not only in the Valley but also Los Angeles County, with more than 100 veterans’ groups, high school bands and ROTC units expected to participate. Since the inaugural event in 2004, only Veterans, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines personnel ride in the parade.
Jorge Rodriguez, Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department Operations-Valley Bureau, is this year’s Grand Marshal.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Rodriguez came to the United States at the age of seven with his parents. The family eventually settled in Lennox, CA. Rodriguez graduated from Lennox High School in 1982 as the class Salutatorian.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment after completing basic training. He participated in a number of joint exercises with the South Korean Marines and completed tours of duty in Okinawa, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines before being honorably discharged in 1986.
Rodriguez then applied to the Los Angeles Police Department, and has worked there for more than three decades.
Honorary Grand Marshals for this year’s parade include: Richard Guerrero, Sgt. USAF (1968-72); Pete D. Flores Gunners Mate 2nd Class, US Navy (1950-54); and US Army Specialist 4 Ken Crabill and Karen Thompson, representing the late Joe Crabill, Corporal, US Army Air Corps (1944-46) who recently passed away.
Since 2009, the Parade committee has dedicated each Veterans Day Parade in memory of Alfred Anthony Flores, Jr. who was tragically killed April 3, 2009. Alfred gave his father Fred A. Flores, a member of the County of Los Angeles Veterans Advisory Commission, the idea of starting the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade to honor veterans and their families.
Elected officials and other dignitaries will watch from a special reviewing stand for a 10:35 a.m. opening ceremony that will be held at the intersection at Brand and Laurel Canyon boulevards.
Congressman Tony Cardenas, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Controller Ron Galperin, LA Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Monica Rodriguez, LAUSD Board Member Kelly Gonez and Robert McKenrick of the Veterans Administration’s LA Healthcare System are among the dignitaries expected to attend.
Free Parking for parade viewers is available at the San Fernando High School football stadium parking lot on the home side. Motorists should enter off O’Melveny Avenue and Chamberlain Street.
In addition to the parade, a weekend carnival will be held Nov. 8-10 at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, located at 10736 Laurel Canyon Boulevard.