The 17th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade will commence as scheduled on Nov. 11.
But it won’t take place on the streets of the San Fernando Valley. Like many outdoor events this year, the parade has been impacted by the health pandemic created by the coronavirus that has been postponing or causing cancellations of large gatherings since March.
So this year’s Veterans Day parade will be virtual. On Nov. 11, all veterans who have signed up to participate will have their images streamed online. In addition those veterans may travel to the Richie Valens Recreation Center, located at 10736 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and receive a commemorative parade face mask (instead of a parade T-shirt), commemorative coin, and Thanksgiving-related gift package.
Scheduled to participate in the “Drive-by Give-a-Way” are Rep.Tony Cardenas (D-29th District), state Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-39th District), LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA council members Monica Rodriguez (D-7th District) and Bob Blumenfield (D-3rd District), or their staff representatives.
Veterans and veterans groups wanting to participate have until the end of Friday, Nov. 6, to register online at www.sfvveteransdayparade.com, or by calling Danette Espinoza at (818) 625-0616 if assistance is needed in filling out the paperwork. Only those who are registered will be recognized online and receive the gifts.
The streaming of images and other parade activities will begin at 11 a.m. on www.sfvveteransdayparade.com.
Parade founder and president Fred Flores said he knew any type of Veterans celebration would be difficult because of the pandemic.
“I was getting calls from vets in the summer saying they could not come this year because they didn’t want to catch anything,” Flores said. “And when I heard the  Rose Parade was canceled, I knew there was no way we could have our community parade.
“But we could do a [virtual] parade. We still want to honor Veterans. Because of COVID-19, it’s not safe for some of the Veterans to [be part of an outside parade]. The safest way to do it is online.”
Named as this year’s parade Grand Marshall is former Marine Cpl. José Razo, a San Fernando High graduate who served from 1992-98 as a reserve and stinger gunner with 4th LAAD Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 48, and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed out of the Pasadena Reserve Unit.
Razo has worked 23 years in education as a schoolteacher and principal, and is currently the Administrator of Operations for Local District Northeast that supports the 122 schools in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. He has also recovered from being infected with COVID-19.
“Veterans Day is about honoring our Veterans for their sacrifices, their service and commitment to our country and community we live in,” Flores said. “We are committed to honoring our Veterans in a safe manner within the current public health restrictions in place due to COVID-19.”