PHOENIX -- The VA Veterans Day Parade began at 11 a.m. on Monday. It started on 7th St. just north of Indian School Rd.
The parade made its way north to Camelback Rd. and then turned west on to Central Ave. It turned north on Central Ave. and wrapped up at Bethany Home Rd.
Sgt. Major. Bryan Battaglia replaced Wayne Newton as the Celebrity Grand Marshal. Newton has a family emergency and was unable to participate in Monday morining's event. Battaglia is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is the senior non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces.
This year a veteran from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Enduring Freedom Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom will be chosen to represent their fellow veterans as the Veterans Grand Marshals.
The theme of this year's parade, which is one of the largest in the country was "Healing Wounds, Honoring Their Sacrifice." The theme "is a fitting tribute to educate Americans about the wonderful service our Veterans endure to protect our freedoms," according to Phoenix VA Health Care System.
Sgt. Major. Bryan Battaglia
Celebrity Grand Marshal
Last year's parade drew more than 40,000 spectators and featured more than 100 entries.
This year's will be even bigger.
"With denotations as both an Arizona Centennial event and a VA Regional Event -- as designated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in conjunction with White House activities for Veterans Day -- this year’s parade has extra sparkle and appeal with 40-foot-tall helium balloons, numerous floats, musical bands, military vehicles, marching units and much, much more," reads the Phoenix VA Health Care System website.