Tanya Bunch
The John Franklin Shain VFW Post 2313 float cruises down Main Street in Hawthorne on Saturday during the 67th annual Armed Forces Day parade. More photos on pages 4-5.

67 years ago, Hawthorne celebrated their first Armed Forces Day Celebration and from that day forward, citizens of this county help to keep Hawthorne “America’s Patriotic Home”.

Under a clear blue sky, main street was covered in red, white and blue for the parade on Saturday. This year’s theme of “America’s Military – Guardians of Freedom” was wholeheartedly felt by all those in attendance.

With 70 entries, the parade was a hit once again with marching bands, military themed floats and princesses in monster trucks.

Started 68 years ago by President Harry S. Truman, he set the day aside to honor men and women in the armed forces. This day celebrates each branch of the military together, on one given day.

The first Armed Forces Day theme was “Teamed for Defense” on May 20, 1950. On that day, B-36 Bombers flew over state capitals in Washington, D.C. and over 33,000 participated in the parade in New York City.

Not just a day for a parade, the day also helps to educate society and public knowledge about the military and the role they play in our communities. Hawthorne knows the roll the military plays in our small town. This is just a way to say “Thank You” to those who go above and beyond to protect our county.

A big hit coming down the street was Cecil the Serpent, who was given a facelift and new paint job this year. He was quite proud of the new design and wove his way down the street showing off his pearly white teeth.

A great balance of family oriented activities as well as adult and children fun and games were brought forth by businesses and the Armed Forces Day committee. From burn-out contests, a pin-up contest to watermelon eating contest and hamster balls at the park, people were able to keep busy throughout the day and night.

One new event this year was the opening of the historic old Mineral County Courthouse. Members of Mineral County Search & Rescue worked diligently to help all 562 individuals who walked through the building with questions and listened to many stories. It was asked that the group re-open the building again next year due to large support that was seen.

A quote from 1953 explains why we celebrate this day, “Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace – many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable through – that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice,” President John F. Kennedy.