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China Lake Color Guard post the colors during last years Parade of 1000 Flags ceremony / Laura Austin Photo

9-11 Parade of 1000 Flags Saturday 9 am

By Patricia Farris News Review PublisherThe Parade of 1,000 Flags will begin tomorrow at 9am. Flag bearers will be led by Travis Combs Bagpiper Band and Burroughs High School Band followed by a host of VIPs which include from NAWC Grand Marshall Captain Jeremy Vaughan, Captain Weinwright, Director Harlin Kooima and elected officials Representative Kevin McCarthy, Senator Shannon Grove, Assemblyman Vince Fong, District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, Sheriff Donny Youngblood, Supervisor Phillip Peters, and Mayor Eric Bruen.

   “We are encouraging everybody to get out on the 21st 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 responders do, day in and day out in our country.,” says Scott O’Neil of  the Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation, (IWVEDC) a co-sponsor of this event. “We don’t ever want to forget the victims of the attack either because it was one of the most tragic events in our national history.  This 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.”

   Following the parade the flags are posted at Freedom Park where they will remain until the following Friday. A brief program including music and speeches will be presented at the gazebo which will be surrounded by the field of flags. Co-Keynote Speakers will be Captain Jeremy Vaughan and Representative Kevin McCarthy.

   As a part of the 9-11 commemoration we will be observing the Candlelight Vigil on Sunday night beginning at 7pm. Kern County Fire Division Chief Bill Steers will be presenting the Bell Ceremony and Fireman’s Prayer. This is a meaningful part of the annual event. Several hundred attendees will light candles at the close of the program as a tribute to those who were lost. This Travis Combs Bagpiper Band will be also be performing.

   You will want to visit the Remembering the Fallen display now through September 17 inside the Kerr McGee Center.

   The remembrance was started by the Exchange Club in 2005 as a vigil and flag field; in 2008 it was expanded into a partnership with The News Review to include the Parade of 1,000 Flags. O’Neil tells us, “The Exchange Club disbanded so 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. We are 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 we joined to co-sponsor along with  Pat Farris and The News Review and China Lake. Another entity has joined the ranks to co-sponsor, Mike Cash with Operation Family Fund.”

   If you haven’t signed up to march in the parade, just show up at 8:30am on Saturday at the staging area on China Lake Boulevard at the old bowling alley parking lot. There you will be given a flag to carry. There are small flags for younger children. Bring the family.