COVID-19 hinders 9-11 parade, but our spirit endures

COVID-19 hinders 9-11 parade, but our spirit enduresThis year, the year of 2020, our community will not have 1,000 flags flying at Freedom Park. The bag pipes will not be playing. And the drums will not be beating. This is the first year since 2006 that locally we have been unable to demonstrate the strong spirit of patriotism through the Parade of 1000 Flags. Up until last year, the Ridgecrest Exchange Club co-sponsored the Remembrance Field and parade in observance of the anniversary of 9-11.

A former China Lake admiral, who participated in one of the programs, said “I have never before seen so many flags in one place.”

We do present a powerful and spectacular statement of our love of God and country. Not only are there more than 1,000 flagbearers, but we became a 1,000-voice choir singing “God Bless America, land that I love.”

Another voice, a former keynote speaker who had fought in the Iraq war, said “if every community would do this, it would change our country.”

The Exchange Club’s partnership with China Lake portrays an inspiring message and unites both sides of the fence in our community’s commitment to the mission at China Lake.

9-11 was a dark day — a wake-up call to the new kinds of threats we face as a nation. The threat of terrorism. What a call to vigilance. What we have accomplished is our history. What we will do in the future will be our legacy.

Now, in 2020, we face a new crisis — a pandemic that is sweeping the world. The horror of 9-11 was profound and called us to a new commitment of our patriotism, our unity and strength. As a nation we need to apply that same passion to the challenges we face today.

The messages from community members and elected officials published in this edition are dedicated to this purpose.

We pray for this nation. We pray for this community, that we will be found faithful in our love and support for each other during this perplexing time.

— Pat Farris, Parade of 1000 Flags chair

Story First Published: 2020-09-11