93rd Annual Veterans Day parade unites community

Thousands of people packed the streets of downtown Bakersfield to honor our servicemen and women in the 93rd annual Veterans Day parade.
Thousands of patriotic people packed the streets of downtown Bakersfield Monday for the 93rd annual Veterans Day parade.

"I like the trucks," says 4-year-old Cylis Mercado, who watched the parade with three generations of his family.

Dozens of school marching bands played and drill teams strutted their stuff.

“I like the cars and the flags and the music,” says Mistery McGruder.

The local community turned out in a big way to support our veterans.

Nancy Henry came dressed in red, white, and blue. Her husband served in World War II and went on the first Kern County Honor Flight.

“It's wonderful. We have so much patriotism in Bakersfield,” she says. “It's wonderful."

17s Jim Scott emceed the 93rd Annual Veterans Day parade. This year's theme: Honoring Our Greatest Generation.

"I feel like it’s the greatest country in the world,” says World War II vet Jim Wilson. “There's none like it."

Many of the veterans going on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. on Tuesday rode in parade cars.

A sea of flags filled the streets, as respect for veterans filled the air.

“I think the kids should know at a young age that they're able to have their freedom because someone paid that price for them and to not take that for granted,” says Christina Mercado.

A host of veterans represented each branch of military. There were many sights and sounds that paid homage to the sacrifice of our servicemen and women.

“I just think it’s wonderful the way the people support our veterans,” said Forest Hagood, Vietnam Veteran. “I wish that people understood the sacrifices that so many that have gone before us have made."

American Legion Post 26 hosts the parade each year. Many of the parade's participants met afterwards for a short awards ceremony. The Cherokee Community of Central California took home a trophy for best marching unit.

“We wanted to do a parade in honor of, especially of our Vietnam veterans, because they are kind of the unsung heroes,” says Opal Morland, whose group took home a trophy. “Thank you to all the veterans for serving us and for all the things that they're still doing for us."

Other big winners were the Bakersfield Drilletz and Drum Squad and the Ladies Auxiliary of Post 97, who took home the top prize as best group overall.

“This community supports their veterans and they know it,” says Kim Mygatt, parade chairman. “They have always been like this and today proved it."

Close to 130 different groups marched in the veterans parade, and organizers are already planning for next year's theme.
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