Local News

Wednesday, Nov 11 2009 04:05 PM

Veterans Day Parade salutes those who have served

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Leading her troops in salute is Horace Mann's Pre-K student, four year old Vianne Salas. The students were dressed as Marines and carried the names of the famed USMC Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Felicia Little of the South High Army JROTC color guard is ready for the Veterans' Day parade to start.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Even though they are busy preparing for their march to the Valley Championship, the BHS Driller football team took time out to cheer on participants in the Veterans Day parade

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Even though they are preparing for their march to the valley championship, the BHS Driller football team took time to wave flags and cheer those in the Veterans Day parade.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Fran Ramirez holds the flag of her foster son, Marine Vietnam veteran Dan Stiles, as she prepares to march with Unit 26 of the American Legion Auxillary. Stiles passed away last year

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Billy Topliss,13, and his mother, Jennifer Topliss, upper right, show their appreciation to US troops during the Veterans Day parade.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Angela Morfin was patriotic from head to toe as she cheered on the Veterans Day parade thru downtown Bakersfield.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian CMSGT Mark Brejcha, command chief from Edwards AFB, shook alot of hands as he made his way down the parade route in Bakersfield's annual Veterans Day parade.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Just like this scene at 20th and H streets, the entire route of the Veterans Day parade was packed with spectators.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Duane Thompson, commander of VFW Post 6601, stands on flat bed trailer as Bakersfield's Veterans Day parade prepares to start. Thompson is a Navy veteran.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Bakersfield High JROTC Air Force cadet Gabriela Madero gets her shoe tied be now because there won't be time was the parade starts. The color guard led the parade. From left is Paola Garcia, Rosa Chavez, Madero, and Manny Tijerina.

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    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian With flags flying, the woodwind section of the East High Blade Marching Band moves in step to start the Veterans Day parade.

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BY ERIN PATTESON, Californian staff writer epatteson@bakersfield.com

A large American flag hanging from an extension of a fire truck waved in the breeze above the Veterans Day Parade route Wednesday as a fitting reminder of who and what the parade is really about.

Members of ROTC and JROTC, school bands, veterans' and military organizations marched the streets of downtown Bakersfield to grateful applause and cheers from the large crowd.

This year's parade theme was "90 Years of Honoring Our Veterans."

Horns from trucks and cars honked almost constantly as bands and children's choirs could be heard playing and singing patriotic songs throughout the parade. Many people on the streets carried flags, and at least one person wore an American flag-printed shirt.

Scattered throughout the crowd were veterans from past and current wars.

Standing on a street corner wearing a veterans hat was Jack Park, 83, a World War II veteran who served in the Army Air Corps, which he said existed before the Air Force was established in 1947.

"I just want to support the participants," he said.

James Leon, 59, served in the Navy during Vietnam on the USS Long Beach.

"I came to express my appreciation for everyone serving now and in the past," he said of the parade.

Leon said that as a Native American, being a warrior means a lot to his people.

He added that he also comes to the Veterans Day Parade as a way to make up for the fact that returning Vietnam veterans weren't celebrated.

Joseph White, 26, served in the Army as a cavalry scout during Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2003 and 2004 and then again in 2005 and 2006. He wore a vintage World War II jacket while attending the parade as a way to pay respect to veterans from previous wars.

Major General David Eichhorn from Edwards Air Force Base was this year's grand marshal, said Pat Carter, Veterans Day Parade chairman and coordinator.

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