Veterans Day patriotism

Eli Calderon
November 19, 2008
Filed under Features

Lisa Chidester and her three children haven’t missed a Veterans Day Parade in the six years they’ve lived in Bakersfield. “We would not miss this for anything,” Chidester said during this year’s parade, as she held up a banner her children made for the veterans.
Along with the banner, her children write a personal letter to one of the veterans every year thanking them for their service to our country. The Chidesters gratitude doesn’t end there, “Anytime we hear there’s a soldier coming home, I take my children out of school and we go to the airport to welcome them home”?said Chidester, whose family gathered in downtown Bakersfield where the parade began on the corner of 22nd and L Street.
Hundreds of people lined L Street waving American flags and?cheering as they watched over 130 different organizations demonstrating in the parade, 26 of which were junior high and high school marching bands.
Vietnam veteran Bill Curtis called it the best parade of the year. “The reason is, there’s so much feeling behind it, because in this town there’s so many people who have a family member who’s served or is serving the country right now” he said.
When asked?about the highlight of this year’s parade, Virginia Rose answered with ease, “The jets flying over were just wonderful.”
After 89 years, the Veterans Parade saw its first fly-over of Air Force jets. “It took me over four months to get them,” said Pat Carter, a ninth-year coordinator of the parade. Carter had to go through the military, Pentagon and the Air National Guard to get approval for the two Cobra F-15s, from Edwards Air Force Base, that flew over the parade.
Carter said it was worth the wait, “Lieutenant Clay Garrison called me [the night before the parade] and said ‘What direction do you want them to fly?'” Carter remembered excitedly, “I’m hoping we’re qualified for this annually.”

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