‘Over There — Remembering World War I’
Parade honors Porterville’s veterans
Saturday’s 99th annual Porterville Veterans Day Parade had it all — a sunny day with blue skies, warm temperatures, floats, bands, horses, American flags, veterans, and thousands of spectators lining Main Street.
Martin Silva, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam was among the spectators.
“I always come. It’s great. I love it. There’s a lot of support for the veterans — people coming out and cheering,” Silva said.
Silva, who was born and raised in Porterville, wore his army uniform to the parade in honor of soldiers who lost their lives.
“I do it for them — to recognize them,” Silva said as his voice started to break. “I don’t do it for me. I do it for those who did not return. I do it to honor them.”
Also waiting for the parade to start was Korean veteran Louie Briones of Lindsay, with his friend Louise Cornell, the widow of a World War II veteran.
“We like to come early and park. Then we have breakfast at RJ’S and come find our seats,” Cornell said.
The couple found a raised area where they could set their chairs in order to get a great view of the parade.
“I love that this brings people together to honor the veterans,” Briones said. “We enjoy the parade.”
Not far away, Vietnam veteran Ron Starr also enjoyed the patriotic parade.
“I never miss these,” the elderly veteran said of the parades. “I’ve been attending for more than 20 years. I really love it and they do a good job. They go all out. I’ve never seen so many people come to the parade. I think all of Porterville is out here.”
The parade route had several areas of four-to-five people deep — many of them wearing shorts and T-shirts.
The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the California Cadets, the Liberty Belles Mounted color guards, and the 2017 Parade Grand Marshal — Rick Elkins, retired Porterville Recorder editor and publisher — led the patriotic parade down Main Street.
The Porterville Veterans Homecoming Queen, Brianna Torres of Porterville High School, who also serves as Miss Porterville, and her royal court — Princess Calista Spohn, PHS; First Attendant Jasmyn Franco, Monache High School; Second Attendant Abygail Saieva, PHS; and Third Attendant Shelby Whinery, PHS — were also toward the front of the parade.
Across the street from Starr, two other veterans, a father and his son sat side by side enjoying the parade — United States Army veterans George Clifton Plumlee and Pete Plumlee.
The elder Plumlee served in World War II. The younger served in Vietnam.
“I’ve been coming every year since I was 15 years old, before I joined the service,” George
Plumlee said. “I really like it. They really honor their veterans here.”
The younger Plumlee agreed and said he was honored to enjoy the day with his father.
Veterans were not the only ones enjoying the parade. All along the parade route, young children could be seen
marching along to the beating of the drums, some of them twirling ribbons on sticks in the air, and waving little, American flags.
Among those waving flags was Laryssa Lerma, an 8 year old Belleview Elementary student.
“We’ve been coming
every year for as long as I can remember,” said her mother, Irene Lerma of Porterville.
“It brings back a lot of memories,” said Rose Sanchez as she watched with her family. “I played the flute for two years and the clarinet for five years with Lindsay Jr. High and Lindsay High
The family enjoyed ice cream as they watched the parade.
Adrian Cabrera said he enjoyed all the car club vehicles, while Mariano Cabrera and Joseph Sanchez said they liked the bands.
For Alex Sandoval, it was the twirling flags,
and Jackie Santos said she liked all the horses.
The parade, themed “Over There — Remembering World War 1” had more than 120 entries and followed a mini parade, which included dozens of twirlers, dancers and majorettes from three local baton groups.
A little spectator enjoys the parade Saturday during the 99th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Porterville.
Members of Cub Scout Pack 3116 march down the street Saturday during the 99th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Porterville.