Thousands turn out for Veterans Day parade

America honored its heroes this Veterans Day 2013. Locally, there was a huge turnout in downtown Bakersfield for the 94th annual Veterans Day parade.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - America honored its heroes this Veterans Day 2013. Locally, there was a huge turnout in downtown Bakersfield for the 94th annual Veterans Day parade.

"Supporting all the veterans," said 9-year-old Josiah Valenzuela, about why he saluted each veteran in Monday's parade.

Dressed in a military suit, he stood for the entire two-hour parade.

"It makes me feel happy that these people fought in the war for us," said Valenzuela.

His mother said Valenzuela has saluted the troops each parade since he was six, when his brother joined the military.

"I am very proud of him because he is honoring the people who served, showing them they're our true heroes," said Mayra Valenzuela, a military mom.

Valenzuela's salute was just one of dozens of patriotic sights in downtown Bakersfield Monday morning.

The crowd clapped for every decorated military man and woman, and the marching bands played each and every American tune in a wave of overwhelming patriotic pride.

"I'm proud to serve my country, but when I'm out here and see everyone here supporting and clapping and standing for our veterans, it makes me proud to be in this town," said Air Force veteran Anthony Rond. "It makes me proud to be a veteran."

Some paid tribute to the fallen, like Patty Auarjo, whose brother died after 23 years in the service.

"Honoring my brother, you know. He was a lifer in the service, you know, just honoring my brother," said Auarjo.

Jan Koch said she spent two days making a sign for the parade.

"Because I don't think enough people really stop to consider the sacrifices our veterans have made," said Koch.

Crystal Sepeda and her children made a different gesture.

"We made the prayer so that each troop will be protected. So they know we don't forget about them," said Sepeda.

Even some cub scouts from Pack 104 paid tribute to their vets.

"I think about the people who died for us," said 7-year-old Joe Algara.

These are sentiments that remind veterans they're the heroes of our hometown.

"I just hope they know they are appreciated," said Koch.

On this day one veteran in particular, stood front and center.

Bruce Murray is a Korean War veteran and was the parade's grand marshal.

Murray rode in style with his daughters in a white convertible the entire parade route. The nearly 80-year-old was a paratrooper and prisoner of war in the Korean conflict. He was 20 when he was captured, a story that Murray used to keep private. Now he's out in the open, honored by all of Kern County.

He said it was a very emotional moment for him and his wife.

"When I came by the, I almost, I was emotionally, I was very affected by it," said Murray.

"It was all I could do to keep from crying, and I saw people which were really incapacitated stand up and salute that flag and that to be gave me such a lump in my throat to know that there was so many people appreciate what these veterans have done," said Margie Murray, Bruce Murray's wife.

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