TUCSON, Arizona (KOLD News 13) – A Tucson Veterans Day has been canceled for the second consecutive year after the city failed to approve the event due to construction work along the downtown parade route.
Mike Graham, public information officer for the Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility, said the parade organizers followed protocol, but the city ultimately did not consider it safe to close another main street for the celebration.
“We were approached by the organizer of the Veterans Day Parade, we sat down, we tried to find a suitable location for such a large parade, and at the end of the day we couldn’t find a suitable location, so the organizer canceled the event,” said Graham .
After the parade was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, Air Force veteran Ann Rodgers said the news was another blow in an already difficult year.
“The parade was a nice way of saying,” Hey, look, you’ve done something special so we’re honoring you and letting you know, “Rodgers said.” This year it means a lot to me because we mean last year Man, the veterinarian was retired – a helicopter gunship pilot in Vietnam. He had participated several times before he just couldn’t anymore. “
Graham said numerous construction projects are now overlapping due to COVID-19, monsoons and planning delays. He said closing a route for the parade along with the current building closings could make it difficult for some people to get in and out of downtown.
“These are voter-approved projects that we want to get done, that need to be done,” said Graham. “The Downtown Links Project Phase 3 and then we have an improvement project on Grenada / Main, a voter-approved project from Proposition 101 Tucson Delivers Better Streets.”
Rodgers had had plans for months to bring a picture of her husband to the parade and be there for the first time. She can’t walk easily and just bought a scooter for the occasion.
“We’re one of the few cities in Arizona that doesn’t hold a parade,” Rodgers said. “I’m afraid that’s an excuse, they just don’t want it. These men and women risk their lives, also to honor those who come back to say thank you. “
Graham said the city plans to work with organizers to make the parade a success in 2022.
The organizers of the Tucson Veterans Day Parade commented on the cancellation to KOLD as follows:
“American Legion Morgan McDermott Post 7 regrets that there will be no parade this year due to construction issues. When we finally got together with the city four weeks ago, the routes offered would not safely accommodate our participants and onlookers. The coordination effort for a proper parade takes months, not weeks, as the parts move between our parade committee and our parade participants. We apologize again for not hosting a parade this year and look forward to having a fully successful parade next year when construction is ready. We also need more volunteers on the committee to make this possible. “
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