PHOENIX -- The City of Phoenix has come to the rescue of one of the Valley's biggest celebrations and beloved traditions -- the annual Veterans Day Parade.
The future of the 2013 parade was in doubt after its longtime primary sponsor, Phoenix VA Health Care System, withdrew its support due to liability concerns and manpower issues.
Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton met with parade coordinators Monday, offering the city's support for the event, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
"I am pleased to be able to say there will be a 2013 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade," Stanton said in a news release. "Veterans are the pride of our community; they risked their lives for us. This parade is a Phoenix tradition to show our gratitude for our service men and women. I can't imagine Veterans Day in our city without a show of thanks in this parade for our troops."
The city will provide help with the planning, logistical details and staging of the parade.
The nonprofit group Honoring Arizona's Veterans runs the parade, but former VA spokeswoman Paula Pedene had been the organizer since 1997, when the VA first came on board with its sponsorship.
Katherine Brooks, president of Honoring Arizona's Veterans, said the city's support is a huge relief.
"I'm elated that we've found a partner in Mayor Greg Stanton and the City of Phoenix for a parade that is so important to our community," she said "The Veterans Day Parade is one way we can show our thanks for the veterans who served to protect us. I'm pleased that we have a strong partner in honoring our service men and women."
The first Phoenix Veterans Day parade took place in 1996 and featured just 10 entries. The VA came on board the next year and the parade has grown steadily ever since.
With the theme of "Healing Wounds, Honoring Their Sacrifice," the 2012 Veterans Day parade featured more than 100 entries. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the streets of Central Phoenix to watch.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11, so Honoring Arizona's Veterans has a little bit of time to try and sort things out and salvage the popular parade.
3TV has been a media sponsor of the Veterans Day parade for the past several years, streaming it live here on azfamily.com.