Campus band, percussion, color guard marches
A Black Hawk helicopter and three vintage Air Force planes flew over downtown Fresno, starts the 98th Fresno Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11, as the parade starts just after 11 a.m.
This year, Fresno’s celebration ranks as the largest Veterans Day Parade in the nation with more than 20,000 people participating. For years, the Fresno event was touted the largest west of the Mississippi River.
On November 11, 1918, in a railroad car near the Western Front, an armistice was signed to end World War I. That same day became known as Armistice Day. Later, President Eisenhower changed it from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, a day to remember the sacrifices made by veterans of conflicts.
“We are lucky enough to live in the greatest country on the earth,” Bob McLaughlin, Vietnam veteran, who addressed the crowd in front of Fresno City Hall at the start of the event. “I want to say thank you, for the opportunity to represent the United States’ army and the veterans for all of your services. God blesses our veterans and God blesses our great nation.”
Following McLaughlin’s speech, dressed-up honor guards stretched out an American flag, soigne and solemnly walking forward, with music beating up, the parade started on time. The three and a half hour parade embarked west on Fresno St., in front of Fresno City Hall, continued down Tulare Street to south on M St. and concluded at Chukchansi Park.
Nearly 100 soldiers participated in the parade, riding and walking near military vehicles. Classic cars, cavalvis, school bands, field army and charity orgnizasions composed the largest parade in the nation, showed up in a seemingly gapless march. Every year the parade honors a military branch and recognizes the work done by those who have served. This year’s Veterans Day honors the U.S. Army, the men, and woman who have served the United States in the armed forces.
The American Red Cross (ARC), through the Service to Armed Forces (SAF) program, participated in the 98th Fresno Veterans Day Parade. The goal of the American Red Cross SAF program is to support members of the armed forces.
SAF actively supports and works to provide the US Department of Veterans Affairs and CalVet 300 resident veteran homes with volunteers for events year round. The SAF program also provides special requests for hospitalized Veterans from the staff which includes lots of visits from the K9 action team therapy dog “Freckles,” donations of coloring books and pencils, comfort kits.
“The Central Vally ARC SAF participated in the Veterans Day Parade and honored our Veteran volunteer driver John Perez-Arcuri USMC and banner carriers John Martinez USMC, and Rick Wagner Army,” Sarah Brown-Monroe, “Freckles” ARC K9 Action Team & SAF Veterans services, said. “The float held Red Cross Service to armed forces volunteers, Freckles, youth, nurse/health services volunteers and their families, all to show our respect, thanks and support for all Veterans and service members and their families.”
This pageant hornored vetereans whether from all wars or current serving in military. Emcees standed on the platform, indroduced each groups when passing by Fresno City Hall. Spectators voluntery made posters to thank veterans, they yelled “Thanks for your services.” People in the parade handed out U.S. flags and candies to audiences, shared hornors with every each of Americans.
“We support Central Valley Veterans at the Women Veteran Stand Up and Homeless Veteran,” Brown-Monroe continued, “Stand down every third week of September at VFW post 8900 SAF partners with Red Cross health services to provide nurse volunteers for all four days of events. The day a service member swears in to serve our country throughout their lifetime (including after they leave the military) Red Cross Service to armed forces provides support and comfort.
“My K9 partner “Freckles” and I are dedicated and honored to volunteer and serve any service member, retiree, veteran or their families in any capacity,” Brown-Monroe continued. “From therapy dog visits to honoring our Veterans in the largest Veterans Day Parade in the U.S. to emergency message casework. … If I can’t get the help, they need I know how to connect them to other resources that can get the support they deserve. I can’t think of a better way to serve those that have all sacrificed so much so that we may have our freedom.”
One of Fresno Christian Schools’ exchange students from China, Trisha Cui, ’18, experienced this year’s Fresno Veterans Day Parade, immersed in American’s culture of honoring those who served.
“I saw on the Veterans Day, American people mean to honors the brave men and women who have fought for America, past and present,” Cui said. “And the parade is a great way to support them and showing respect for them. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for our band start beginning and when I saw our school coming toward. I was so excited and proud. Our band and color guard did a really awesome job.”
This year, the campus band, color guard and percussion all joined to perform at the Fresno Veterans Day event. The students prepared to march for one hour, performing a patriotic parade sequence and two songs: ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘My Country tis’ of Thee’.
Member of the campus marching band, Janae Shew, ‘20, honors veterans through her performance in the Fresno Veterans Day Parade.
“I like how we do it, but I think it (Fresno Veterans Day Parade) should happen a little bit more often,” Shew said. “I think they’re forgotten in day to day, and remembered only when we feel obligated to, and it shouldn’t be like that. I think that there’s always room to improve for next year, but overall I felt that we did really well.”
Campus percussion coach and band teacher, Lesley Bannister appreciates all that the veterans service to their country and their sacrifice for freedom. Bannister and her class marched in the parade to honor the veterans.
“We just really want to show honor and respect to all the veterans and those who were gone before us to say ‘thank you’ for their sacrifices and their service,” Lesley Bannister said. “The students did really well, it was a long parade, and they did a great job marching the full time. We started the practicing at the beginning of September; it is one of the longest parades in the Central Valley, so we have been working hard to get ready to perform.”
The campus parade contingent was composed of 18 band members, five percussionists in the drum line, seven color guard students, and 12 junior color guard students. These students spent hours in marching rehearsals to prepare for the demands of performing on Veterans Day. Bannister went on to say she loves that the band gets to honor veterans. This year, junior color guard, which is composed of fifth and sixth-grade girls, were added to the campus group for their first time marching in a parade.
The 98th annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade was held in downtown Fresno, Nov. 11. The Fresno parade was the largest in the nation. Members of the armed services joined various groups and organizations to honor the sacrifices made by veterans who served the country.
Here provide a transcript of Feather staff Keith Zhu’s introduction in the video recap above.
“What is behind me now is the largest Veterans Day Parade in the entire nation,” Keith Zhu, Feather journalist, reported. “For more than 20,000 people are participating today. This year’s Veterans Day honors the army, nearly 100 soldiers are riding and walking down the street. This three and half hours parade starts at the Fresno City Hall, down to Tulare Street. The Fresno Christian band, color guard and percussion, all are performing at this event.”
Slideshow images below are photographed by Keith Zhu during the 2017 Veteran’s Day Parade, Nov. 11.
For related veterans’ stories, read Japanese-American internment survivor recalls life during WWII, also check out WWII veteran George Poplin shares story, inspires others and PROMO: 98th Annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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