Pick 6 - Editors Picks from Past Week

Monday, Nov 11 2013 03:01 PM

Bakersfield continues tradition at Veterans Day Parade

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Korean War veteran Stanley R. Perez rides the Veterans Day Parade route and waves to the crowd Tuesday. Thousands came out to watch and thank the veterans for their service in the military.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Cub Scouts ride on their float during the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Delaney Gargan waves her flag during the annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Dancers from the Cherokee Community of Central California honor veterans as they participate in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    At the Bakersfield Veterans Day Parade, Jacob Pinto holds the flag he and his brother David made to honor their uncle Jaime Pinto, who has served several tours of duty in Afghanistan while in the US Army.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Girl Scouts march in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Independence High color guard members toss their rifles as the band marches in the Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Juanita Keeton with the Bakersfield Drillettes performs with her group during the Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Korean War Veteran Dale Stolte and his wife, Darla, walk the Veterans Day Parade route as thousands are gathered to thank and honor veterans like Stolte during the annual parade.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    World War II veteran Elmer Defrese, left, and Korean War veteran Johnny Azevedo appear to be having a good time as they attend the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A Nichols Elementary School student marches in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield in 2013.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Veterans riding the Kern County Veterans Services Department entry in the Veterans Day Parade cross Chester Avenue as they start the final few blocks of the parade.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The streets were lined with thousands of people ready to honor and thank military veterans for their service.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Kern County Shrine Club always seems ready for a parade and they participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Vietnam veterans march in the annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Someone has to do the clean up and this crew marks the end of the annual Veterans Day Parade in Bakersfield.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Veteran Jack Howell seems to enjoy breakfast at the American Legion Post Hall in downtown Bakersfield along with other veterans on Veterans Day.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    CSUB volleyball player Sophie Flemion helps out at the Veterans Day breakfast held at the American Legion Post Hall in downtown Bakersfield. At left is veteran Don Daverin.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Korean War veterans Deron Johnson, left, and Ken Hasselbar pose for a picture at the American Legion Post Hall on H Street where breakfast was being served on Veterans Day morning.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Veteran Ken Feer is escorted by CSUB volleyball player Tamar Fowler from breakfast at the American Legion Post Hall to a waiting golf cart to transport him to his place on the Veterans Day Parade Tuesday.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

Red, white and blue flooded the streets of downtown Bakersfield Monday morning.

As a 40-by-60-foot American flag was hoisted above the corner of H and 21st streets, the crowd went wild and people clapped and whistled while a distant chant of "Happy Veterans Day" was heard.

Looking around for an open spot where he could sit, 70-year-old Raul Gomez, wearing Army camouflage and a hat showing his service in Vietnam, found a spot across from the Bakersfield Fire Department's H Street station.

"This parade is very important because it helps us recognize those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe," the Army Vietnam veteran said.

Gomez has joined thousands of other locals at the parade since he was a kid. He would wake up early and head downtown with his family, a tradition he has seen many other local families keep.

Waving an American flag, Vicky Marmolejo's great-grandchild walked around anxiously, waiting for the two-hour parade to begin.

"When I'm no longer here, I want my kids and grandchildren to continue this tradition because it's an important day in our lives," 70-year-old Marmolejo said.

Standing next to her was her sonLeonard Marmolejo, 52, a retired Marine veteran. Leonard still remembers sitting on downtown curbs, watching the parade as a child. He said it's important to bring kids at a young age.

"They get to see how their community embraces veterans and they see the tribute and respect we pay to them," Leonard said.

To kick off the parade, local ROTC students holding military branch flags marched in formation down 21st Street. People cheered and clapped as military floats, classic cars, school bands and others made their way down the streets.

As the Honor Flight World War II veterans float made its way in front of the fire department, people stood and cheered extra loud for the veterans waving back.

The parade's smiles and cheers have been going on since 1919, when the first parade was put on by American Legion Post 26, said David Graham, business manager of the post.

This year, there were 128 entrees in the parade.

Graham said the parade committee had been meeting since January to plan the parade and the annual veterans breakfast that took place before just before the parade.

And this year 450 people were served breakfast. That's 150 more than last year.

"I actually had to tell people to give their seat to others if they were done with breakfast," Graham said. "But it's just an honor to serve those that did so much for this country."

 

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