144th Fighter Wing Celebrates Veterans Day
By SMSgt. Chris Drudge, 144th Fighter Wing/PA
/ Published November 16, 2011
California Air National Guard Base Fresno -- More than 9,000 veterans and volunteers celebrated the day by participating in the 92nd Annual Veterans Day Parade held in Fresno, Calif.
The parade is the largest event celebrating Veterans Day west of the Mississippi River.
Just before the parade kicked off, Joshua De Leon was sworn in to the Calif. Air National Guard by Capt. Heather Yamamoto, 144th Force Support Squadron Commander, while Congressman Jim Costa, 20th District, observed.
Booming cannons, the national anthem and a fly over with 4 F-16 fighter aircraft from the 144th Fighter Wing started off the parade where thousands of spectators lined the streets of downtown Fresno.
"The parade was awesome, awesome as always," said Tech. Sgt. Manuel Olmos, the parade facilitator for the 144th Fighter Wing. "Being out here, participating in this parade is a big honor."
The 144th Fighter Wing had over 30 volunteers and 13 vehicles spanning the length of a football field following the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the parade route.
The Christmas tree was cut from the mountains above Sonora and was on its way to Washington, D.C. before its stop in Fresno.
People from all over the valley came to enjoy the event and give a salute to the veterans from here and abroad who put their lives on the line to keep our country free.
"I am honored to be participating in the parade," said Capt. Michael Yamamoto of the 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "It was a great outpouring of the Fresno community showing their support for all the veterans throughout the valley."
This year's parade was broadcast over the Pentagon Channel into millions of homes across the U.S. and to over 370 military installations throughout the world via satellite.