Families, veterans and community leaders gathered in downtown Bakersfield to watch the 97th annual Veterans Day Parade, which honored and celebrated veterans not only in Kern County but all over the nation.
The parade featured school marching bands, community leaders, local politicians, community organizations and young and older residents waving their American flags and hands while they pass by.
Even CSU Bakersfield’s spirit squads performed at the parade.
Bakersfield resident Viviana Vega paid her respect for not only the veterans in Kern County but also for her family members who are still currently serving the military.
Vega brought her 2-year-old son to show him all of the attractions in the parade but to also teach him at a young age about the men and women that are veterans and active duty.
“I want to teach him the values and morals that our former military men and women have and how heroic they are for giving their lives to let us live ours,” said Vega.
Not only does she teach her son the values of what Veterans Day and the parade mean, but she also recognizes what the community does for those who served in a military branch.
“They are deserving of it. My friend’s father was recognized as the grand marshall of this year’s parade, which is admirable to me to know that our town really goes out of their way to assure that our vets are respected in such a way,” she said.
This year the parade honored veterans who were medics, and for Vega, they honored her friend’s father, Ismael Gonzales, who was a paratrooper and medic for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
Bakersfield resident Leo Martinez, who has family members currently in the military, saluted what the veterans have done for everyone around.
“These men and women sacrificed their lives for us and being here to pay honor for them is amazing,” he said.