Parade of 1,000 Flags inspires all generations
Sep 9, 2015
In The News
By Jessica Weston
The Petroglyph Festival was just declared a Ridgecrest Signature Event, but the Parade of 1,000 Flags, which honors the memory of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, celebrates the patriotism of the community — a fact not lost on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The event’s keynote speaker, McCarthy said he considers Ridgecrest home, and later added that “I will put this city up against any city in this country” in terms of patriotism.
“I want to thank you for allowing me to be the Grand Marshal.”
McCarthy, who attended the first ever Parade of 1,000 Flags, spoke about the meaning of the event.
“Every country has a flag. Every country’s flag is supposed to symbolize who they are. It doesn’t matter if you’re from America or another country, when you see red, white, and blue and stars, you know our values, you know what we stand for.
“You know America is more than a country. America is an idea. An idea that free people can govern themselves so the power is not deriven from government but from the people.”
He talked about Sept. 11. “Like every time before, America has woken up and risen to the occasion.” The only way the country can do so, he said, is keep these freedoms and values.
“They’re not just given to us, they’re earned.
“They’re earned by teaching those young faces that I see out there that were not alive when 9/11 hit, but carry that flag with pride.”
“It has always been said that the freedom that we have today is the responsibility of this generation to bestow onto the next.”
The legacy of the next generation and the participation of the young was a theme at this year’s event.
“I think we have more young people participating this year than ever before and that’s awesome because that’s our future right there,” said emcee James Bell.
“Thank you to our past. Thank you to our present, and I saw so many in our future,” Mayor Peggy Breeden said. She praised “the little ones who are sitting there today” for inspiring all present to “try harder to be more and to do more because some of them may think you are heroes.”
This event has been sponsored every year by the Exchange Club of Ridgecrest, for the last several years in partnership with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division and the Naval Air Warfare Station China Lake.
The flags wound their colorful way down the three-quarter-mile parade route accompanied by the Burroughs High School marching band and more. At the end of the parade they were planted in Freedom Park, where they will remain until Sept. 12.
(The Remembering Our Fallen exhibit will also be on display in the Kerr McGee Center until Sept. 12.)
In addition to McCarthy, the program featured words from NAWS Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Wiley, Breeden and others. The Choir of 1,000 Voices, The Farris Family Singers, musicians Brian Cosner and Dick Dickson and bagpiper Tress Maksimuk provided musical accompaniment.
All in all, it was an enthusiastic show of support for Ridgecrest.
“You can be rightfully proud of yourselves for your dedication, patriotism and community spirit. You participate with no expectation of special treatment or monetary gain. You are here because of your heartfelt love of your country, your freedoms, and the people of this great city,” Andy Anderson said.
“It says in your program that I’m supposed to welcome you. Let me change that right now. I’m supposed to thank you. I thank you for showing up again on this beautiful Saturday morning,” Wiley said.
“I also said before and I will never stop saying it. Thanks to this wonderful community.” He went on to joke that there are not too many places in the world where people are so welcoming to an institution such as NAWCWD/NAWS that makes so much noise.
This was a topic addressed humorously by McCarthy. “He [Wiley] talks about the noise, but I’m never concerned about the noise. It gives me goose bumps when I hear them go. It’s the sound of freedom.”