PHOENIX - The countdown to the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Parade kicked off Tuesday at a ceremony in downtown Phoenix at APS headquarters.
Seven outstanding local veterans who served from World War II, to Korea, to Vietnam and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts were selected to represent all Arizona veterans as Grand Marshals in Saturday's annual parade.
2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshals
Harold Bergbower World War II Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force (Ret)
Melvin Brody Korean War U.S. Navy, Electrician Mate 2nd Class
Larry Leighton Vietnam War Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret)
Bernard O'Keefe Cold War Command Chief master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)
John Scott Desert Storm Major General, U.S. Army (Ret)
Richard Arnold Operation Iragi Freedom Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army (Ret)
Raul Sanchez Operation Enduring Freedom U.S. Army National Guard
In remarks to representatives from statewide veterans organizations, elected officials and member businesses of the Arizona Corporate Council on Veterans Careers, one of the Cold War's warriors, Chief Master Sergeant Bernard O'Keefe said all exceptional vets seem to share a fundamental trait: "commitment to service."
"The parade has reminded me of the nobility of service," O'Keefe said. "Each Grand Marshal represents a different era, and their achievements are varied; but if you look at their bios, each one is committed to community service."
In addition, Joe Cuffari, a policy advisor to the Governor's Office, read a special proclamation from Gov. Doug Ducey on his support of veterans and their careers after service.
The 21st annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday in uptown Phoenix.