The San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade resumed Friday after being canceled the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti among the participants.
The parade began at 11:11 a.m. at the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and San Fernando Mission Boulevard in Mission Hills, and proceeded south on Laurel Canyon Boulevard for 1.1 miles to Ritchie Valens Park.
The time corresponds with the date in 1918 of the armistice that ended World War I.
Organizers expected approximately 2,000 veterans from World War II to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to participate.
Parade rules limit participation to veterans, Marines, soldiers, sailors, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force personnel, high school bands, ROTC units and Naval Sea Cadets. Garcetti rode on the back of a vintage Imperial convertible, clad in his dress Navy uniform.
“Honored to join our local heroes for Veterans Day in the San Fernando Valley,” Garcetti, who served 12 years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, tweeted. “Thank you to every Angeleno who serves this country with courage and grace.”
The grand marshal was Charles Green, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps immediately after graduating from Edison Technical High School in Rochester, New York in 1976, serving through 1979. He joined the U.S. Army in 1980, retiring in 2002 as a master sergeant. He served as a squad leader and platoon sergeant and was deployed to Bosnia, Germany and South Korea.
Green’s military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters and the Army Commendation Award with seven Oak Leaf Clusters.
Green was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2006 to conduct Transition Assistance Program briefings for service members leaving active duty. He is the site manager for the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center in North Hills.
The 63rd annual Veterans Day event at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills included a flyover, patriotic music and a wreath laying. The keynote address was delivered by California State Guard Maj. Brenda Threatt, the director of veterans services at El Camino College in Torrance. Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin also spoke.
Approximately 500 pre-selected active-duty service members and their families were at Dodger Stadium for an event including the opportunity to take batting practice on the field and a question-and-answer session with catcher Austin Barnes and first baseman Max Muncy.
Alhambra, Carson, Claremont, Duarte, Glendora, La Verne, Pasadena, West Hollywood and Whittier were among the Los Angeles County cities conducting Veterans Day events.
Veterans Day has its roots in a proclamation issued by President Woodrow Wilson in November 1919, a year after World War I ended, designating Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. States soon started declaring Nov. 11 a legal holiday. Congress made it a federal holiday in 1938, dedicated to the cause of world peace.
In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, Congress, at the urging of veterans service organizations, passed a law renaming Armistice Day Veterans Day. From 1971-77, Veterans Day was held in late October. A 1975 law returned it to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.
In his Veterans Day proclamation, President Joe Biden declared, “Today, we honor generations of patriots who have earned the title of American veteran — a badge of courage that unites the finest group of former service members the world has ever known.
“With their selfless sacrifice, our armed forces have forged and defended the very idea of America — a promise of freedom and equality, democracy and justice, possibility and hope. We owe them an incredible debt that can never be fully repaid.”