Clovis Memorial District also hosts Veterans Day event
The 98th Annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade, the largest Veterans Day celebration west of the Mississippi River, occurs on Saturday, Nov. 11, in downtown Fresno. The Fresno Veterans Day Parade has acted as an event to honor those who lost their lives to protect America. The parade celebrates those who passed and those who currently sacrifice themselves for the safety of their country. This year’s theme is the U.S. Army.
As marching bands parade through the streets, families are reminded of those who went before them to protect the rights and freedoms they enjoy every day.
This year, the FC band, color guard and percussion all plan to perform at the event. The students are preparing to march for one hour, perform a patriotic parade sequence and two songs, America the Beautiful and My Country tis’ of Thee.
Lesley Bannister, percussion coach and band teacher on campus, gears up to send students to the Fresno Veterans Day Parade for the fourth year in a row. She shares information about the parade and what she anticipates as the day gets closer.
“I love that we get to honor our veterans,” Bannister said. “We get to take an active part in our community by performing in the parade. It is a great experience for the students! The Fresno Veterans Day Parade is used to honor our soldiers, so to be a part of that is amazing. This year we are excited to add our junior color guard, which is composed of fifth and sixth-grade girls. It will be their first time marching in a parade.
“We plan to take 18 band members, five percussionists in the drum line, seven of our color guard, and 12 of our junior color guard,” Bannister continued. “This is an extremely difficult parade for our students. It is a long parade route and can take us about an hour to complete. They play non-stop for a solid hour. It can be difficult for students to sustain themselves playing for that long, so we have been having multiple marching rehearsals in order to prepare the students for the demands of performing in this parade.”
The parade itself demands a lot from the students marching in it. Aspiring baker and bass drum player, Vijay Stephen, ‘21, shares his previous experiences and feelings about the event that awaits the team.
“I have been in percussion for three years,” Stephen said. “I attended the Veterans Day Parade with the percussion group every year I was on the team, but before that, I had never been to the parade. I’m excited to go and participate in an event that honors all the veterans who have fought for America and sacrificed their lives for our country. It’s also fun to go hang out with people I wouldn’t normally see. I’m most nervous about marching in the parade. It’s difficult to march while carrying a heavy instrument, trying to remember the music, staying in line with others and get the notes on time.”
Students from the band, percussion, and color guard all plan to attend the parade. Artist and returning color guard participant, Shauna Howard, ‘20, shares her past experiences with the parade and her passion for the parade
“I’ve been in color guard for four years,” Howard said. “I love participating in all the events in color guard, especially the parades. I’ve been in the Fresno Veteran’s Day Parade all four years as well. It’s very fun to participate in this parade, but it’s also an endurance test. By the end of the parade you are really tired and thirsty, but it’s really fun to do it. This year, I am excited to use rifles in the parade instead of flags which I find more fun and easier. I’m nervous to march this time with all the new people and teaching them how to march. But I love how this event really brings people together and unifies them when we can be very divided.”
The parade kicks off on Saturday in front of City Hall at 11 a.m., Nov. 11. The route plans to embark west on Fresno St., south on M St., west on Tulare St. and conclude near Chukchansi Park. The band students prepare for a day of celebration as they contribute to honoring the Fresno veterans.
Old Town Clovis also has a Veterans Day event in the Clovis Memorial District, Nov. 11, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. A pancake breakfast gets the day started at 808 Fourth Street for $7; a car show will be held during the same time with live country music by Jason Cade; plus check out “Remembering Our Fallen”, a photographic war exhibit memorial and veterans memorabilia. Finally, stay for the patriotic concert by Clovis Community Band at 11 a.m.
For more on the Veterans Day Parade, check out the 97th annual Veterans Day Parade spotlights Marine Corp. For more articles, read COLUMN: Sophomore mourns over loss of friend.
This author can be reached via email: Addison Schultz.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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