Community invited to join the Parade of 1,000 Flags

Community invited to join the Parade of 1,000 FlagsBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

More than 1,000 community patriots will take to the streets on Saturday at 9:am. This spectacular event will draw people from near and far. It is noted by many as the most patriotic event on 9/11 commemorated anywhere.

This year our Grand Marshall will be Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who will be heralded by Bagpiper George Macgillivray.

This marks the 20th anniversary, making it even more significant.

Many of our youth were not yet born, but they need to know and understand the significanc of one of the darkest days in America’s history. Our parade will help etch this in their memories.

If you haven’t signed up to march in the Parade of 1,000 Flags, not to worry, you can show up at 8:30 am on September 11 at the staging area on China Lake Boulevard at the old bowling alley parking lot. There you will be given an American flag provided by the Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation (IWVEDC). Scott O’Neil, Executive Director of the IWVEDC emphasizes, “We encourage a lot of participation; however, we do not want private flags being flown. This is a memorial and remembrance event. It is non-political. We hope that the public and our distinguished speakers will honor that goal in making this a unifying event as opposed to making a political statement This is an important remembrance and there is no room for politics.

We are encouraging everybody to get out on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to honor the fallen and to honor the first responders to that tragic event, just to say ‘We will never forget’ and just say ‘Thank you’ for all the service that first reponders do day in and day out in our country. And we don’t ever want forget the victims of the attack either because it was one of the most tragic events in our national history.

It is our way of saying let’s remember together, let’s bring our community together as a unit to remember, and honor those victims and first responders so that we can stand together in unity against all of our enemies.”

The parade begins by marching down China Lake Boulevard and making a left turn at California Boulevard. At the traffic circle in front of City Hall it heads into Freedom Park where the flags will be planted.

“After the parade and after all of the flags have been entered into the field there will be a program at the gazebo in Freedom Park,” says O’Neil. Commanding Officer of NAWS, Captain Vaughn, will be the Keynote Speaker. Captain Scott, the officer in charge of all of the earthquake reconstruction at China Lake will say a few words. O’Neil adds, “We have a number of VIPs that will participate including Ridgecrest Mayor Eric Bruen, our Congressman Kevin McCarthy, our State Senator Shannon Grove, our Assemblymen Vince Fong, a strong representative of our community, Stu Witt, and a number of our local representatives.

There will be an invocation and a benediction by Pastor Eddie Thomas of Victory Baptist Church. The Farris Family Singers will lead, God Bless America and sing the National Anthem. The program will be enhanced by the bagpiper’s medleys then concluded by the playing of Taps, by Simon Austin.”

This year the event is made possible by the IWVEDC, the News Review, the Naval Air Station at China Lake, and Operations Family Fund – a local, private, non-profit, volunteer, public benefit corporation committed to ensuring that all available resources are used to assist those who have been severely disabled as a part of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

The remembrance field was started by the Exchange Club in 2005. In 2008, it expanded to include a parade. This year since the Exchange Club disbanded, Pat Farris, chairperson of the parade, thought it important to continue. She reached our for a partner. The News Review then formed a partnership with IWVEDC.

O’Neil tells us, “The IWVEDC stood up because it is a signature event for the community and a strong symbol and personification of what our community stands for: a patriotic community with a strong presence of the US Navy here and our basic role in supporting the defense of our country. We thought this was an important event and representative of what our community is about.”

News Review file photo: Community members participate in the Parade of 1,000 Flags.

Story First Published: 2021-09-10