Committee pulls out from sponsoring Veterans Day parade after 20 years, city says a parade is still happening despite committee’s action

Neena Strichart | Signal Tribune
2010 file photo of Long Beach Veterans Day Parade

[Editor’s note: The Signal Tribune has published a separate commemorative program for the Long Beach Veterans Day parade in the past.]

For over 20 years the Long Beach Veterans Day Committee, which was founded in 1996 by former Councilmember Jerry Shultz, has hosted the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade in north Long Beach.

According to the committee’s website, lbveteransdayparade.com, military grand marshals, multiple branches of the armed forces and members of city government have all participated in previous festivities.

This year, the committee announced that it will no longer sponsor the 23rd annual parade, which was scheduled for November 9 via their website, citing miscommunication with Long Beach City officials as the reason for the committee’s decision.

A parade is still taking place this year, Long Beach Special Events and Filming Bureau Manager Tasha Day told the Signal Tribune, despite the committee’s announcement.

“The city produces the parade, so the money is actually housed within my budget,” Day said.

The Signal Tribune reached out to the committee’s treasurer, Val Lerch, for comment on the decision to not sponsor the parade, but he said the committee did not wish to conduct interviews as of press time.

An official letter from Committee Chair Gus Orozco was sent out to the public, and it stated that miscommunication about the parade’s logistics and failure to meet with the city to discuss the spending of funds caused the committee to miss “crucial logistical deadlines.”

“This committee has made several attempts, as early as May 2019, to coordinate parade logistics with the City of Long Beach Bureau of Special Events and Filming, to no avail,” the letter stated.

In August, the committee was sent a copy of a memorandum containing procedures on how city councilmembers and nonprofit groups were to use city funds for events, as well as how to coordinate with the Special Events and Filming Bureau.

“Again, the Long Beach Veterans Day Committee, a 501(c)(3), requested a meeting with [the] Special Events [Bureau], to help answer questions regarding this memorandum,” the letter read. “With no successful scheduling of a meeting with the Special Events Bureau, councilmembers, and this committee, the committee has decided to not sponsor this year’s parade.”

Rex Richardson, 9th District Councilmember, said that “technically nothing has changed,” and that the city is still anticipating hosting the parade.

He added that the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Committee could potentially assist the city in selecting grand marshalls for the parade, a task that was previously entrusted with the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade Committee.

Day told the Signal Tribune that this year’s parade will be similar to previous celebrations, however, no details were given.

“The organization was helping with entries and advertisement and things like that,” Day said in regard to the committee citing miscommunications. “So I honestly don’t know what they are talking about.”

Day said that the committee had called her office to set up a meeting in August.

“My staff was working on a meeting. In the interim, they sent [the committee] what the new policy was, and by that following Monday [Aug. 27], of the original phone call, they sent a letter out saying they no longer wanted to be involved.”

The committee placed a banner over the 23rd Annual Veterans Day parade on it’s website that read “canceled.” It was then recently changed to read, “Long Beach Veterans Day Committee is not sponsoring or funding the 23rd Annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade. For more information, contact the Long Beach Special Events and Filming Bureau.”

The committee’s website also stated that it has worked with a professional parade-production company in the past. The Signal Tribune spoke with a representative of Pageantry Parades Wednesday afternoon who said the company could not comment on the matter. The representative said all inquiries concerning the parade had to be addressed to the committee.

Orozco’s letter stated that the committee has “extended an offer to the Special Events [and Filming] Bureau for any volunteer assistance in hosting a Veterans Day parade or any Veterans Day celebration.”

“We look forward to continue to recognize our veterans, like we do every year with our Veterans Day parade and street festival,” Richardson said. “We thank those veterans on the committee for their service to the parade, and they can rest assured that this legacy will continue to move forward.”

Subscribe for local news now!

* indicates required



Photo of Sebastian Echeverry
Sebastian Echeverry, Managing Editor

The first-born child of Colombian immigrants, Sebastian Echeverry has been working as a professional journalist in SoCal for the past four years. His byline...