Vic Trujillo photos/Special to MCIN
The 69th annual Armed Forces Day parade marches down Main Street in Hawthorne Saturday afternoon.
Part of the crowd that lined Main Street stands for the National Anthem before Saturday’s parade.

In “America’s Patriotic Home” under red, white and blue – Hawthorne celebrated its 69th annual Armed Forces Day celebration week

“We were excited to get this week started and to represent those who serve in our Armed Forces,” Armed Forces Day committee member Dennis Bunch explained. “Seeing the smiles on the faces of the public gives the committee great satisfaction that their hard work has paid off.”

Tammy Sandvik, local business owner of Souled Out, who hosted the art show this year said, “I can say that the art show was the best ever. They had more visitors and more entries than they have ever had.”

The highlight to the weekend starts with the annual parade. Started off by the traditional buzzing of E Street and the noon whistle, the event wound its way down the street with onlookers waving American Flags and standing for attention each time “Old Glory” was presented by the color guard.

“I think it was fantastic. I mean if we don’t count the back and forth with the weather, I think everybody had a great time,” Alicia Dalton explained to the Independent-News. “Being able to hear all the kids’ laughter from way over by the concession stand was good enough for me.”

Myriad branches of the military, age levels and ranks were present both in and at the parade. From high ranking officials who viewed the parade in the reviewing stand to cadets who marched in the parade. They were cheered on by children barely old enough to walk and elders who sat somberly, reflecting on times long ago.

Local business owner, Cassie Dore’ with Barley’s Sports Bar claims, “This was the most successful celebration Barley’s has ever seen.” Her organization held the annual “Pull at the Pub” arm wrestling contest brings in professionals from across the United States and locals who decided to try out the sport.

“We were excited to host local bands, “The Working Class Skumbags” and “DOCK6”. Former residents Gary and Anita Erickson brought their band “Nita & the Pipe Smokin’ Charlies” all the way from Nebraska,” Dore continued. “We will be having a post-AFD Customer Appreciation Party on June 14!”

The comradery between veterans, active service men and women as well as those who are patriotic can be seen each year as the “Big Flag” is walked down the street and hoisted up the pole at its home at Veterans Memorial Park. The ceremony takes those with the flag and members of visiting bands (who play the “Star Spangled Banner” during the raising of the flag) to orchestrate a moment where time stands still and “America’s Patriotic Home” shines.

Volunteerism is needed to make the 70th annual celebration successful. Meetings begin in January of 2020.