By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – More than 40,000 active-duty service members, retirees and civilians from the Pacific Northwest gathered in Bremerton, Wash., to watch the 65th annual Armed Forces Day Parade May 18.
The parade was presented by the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce as part of the city’s Armed Forces Festival to pay tribute to all veterans past and present.
The Military Grand Marshal of this year’s parade was Rear Adm. Markham Rich, commander, Navy Region Northwest. Sailors assigned to Navy Band Northwest (NBNW), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) also participated in the parade.
“When the Navy in the Northwest says ‘because of our families,’ it can mean even more: our community, the community of Navy families, the community of Bremerton that supports those Navy families. We rely on each other,” said Rich. “When the USS John C. Stennis spent 16 of the last 22 months deployed, we relied on each other.”
Following Rich’s car was NBNW, who heard a round of loud cheers from spectators as they passed by.
“This is a great chance for us to give back to the city of Bremerton,” said Musician 3rd Class Eric Nielsen, assigned to NBNW. “We are truly thankful for all the support they provide our Navy.”
More than 140 groups participated in the event including active-duty and retired veterans, politicians, business representatives and students from the local community.
The crowd rendered salutes and a moment of silence during a special part of the parade where a group of service members marched holding photos of fallen heroes.
“We are thankful for the service our military provides,” said Roger White, a spectator. “It was nice to see the Sailors out there having fun and receiving the recognition they deserve.”
Bremerton’s Armed Forces Festival started on May 8 and will conclude May 19 with the 5th Annual Armed Forces and Washington Youth Academy Group Motorcycle Ride.