The 19th Annual Veterans Day Parade rolled down Victorville’s 7th Street to kick of a set of events on November 11, with marching bands, floats, military vehicles, representing many local veterans groups, schools, dignitaries and individuals.
Following the parade was a ceremony at the Soldier memorial, and veterans and friends were honored by the Old Town Route 66 Historical Society afterwards with music, memorabilia, and a free hot dog lunch.
Several hundred onlookers waved American flags, saluted, or cheered veterans during the parade.
The University Preparatory band played a military medley that brought back memories for many attendees.
There were over 30 parade entries, including Congressman Paul Cook riding in a humvee.
Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia welcomed a large crowd of people in front of the Victorville Veterans Memorial named, “For the Price of Freedom,” a lifesize bronze sculpture titled by artist Ismael Rodriguez, and commissioned by Felix Diaz in honor of his brother.
The Victor Valley High School Air Force JROTC held a flag raising ceremony. Congressman Cook gave the keynote speech, saying Veterans Day is the time to acknowledges our men and women in uniform.
The Hi-Desert Harmonaires sang several patriotic songs, including “God Bless America,” while the crowd joined in.
First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood spoke of a collaborative effort between the county sheriff’s Hope Team and the Department of Veterans Affairs which has reduced the number of homeless veterans from 401 to 177, spending $358,000 to accomplish the task.
He expects all to have homes within a year.
Local pastor Hector Gonzales presented Army Veteran Manuel F. Martinez Jr. with an award featuring three soldier figurines, who as a 20-year-old in 1966 was badly wounded in Vietnam trying to save others.
Martinez then presented Army Veteran John Q. Varela with a painting depicting two moments in time: A battlefield in Vietnam and a group of elderly veterans.
Col. Kevin Jacobi gave an inspirational reading of “Tribute to Old Glory,” by retired USAF Chief Master Sgt. Johnny Lewis.
Felix Diaz closed out the event, speaking of the memorial he founded nearly 20 years ago.
A 12-year-old boy scout, Isaac Lehndorfer, ended the ceremony by volunteering to play “Taps” on his bugle after it was announced there was no one present who could do it.
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