Recently we were honored to be in Spokane, Washington during their Lilac Festival. As part of the festival, they hold an amazing parade which is held on Armed Forces Day. We were told it is one of the largest parades honoring our military men and women in the entire United States. I can believe it.
It was a torchlight parade so it began at 7:45pm and had over 200 entries and went for over two hours. Beautifully decorated floats, lit up for the evening, many high school marching bands, and other fun entries started the parade.
The Red Hot Mamas cracked us up, parading with walkers and using them as dance props.
The various military entries were the real focus of the parade however. Dispersed throughout the parade, they received much-deserved standing ovations as they passed by. Blind service members rode in a truck as well as on interesting tandem bicycles. Some of the bicycles were the typical tandem but others were two bikes connected side-by-side.
One impressive and fun group to watch was the Survival School Personnel from Fairchild AFB. They were in fatigues, marching along as expected. Then when they stopped at the corner, they would say something in cadence then suddenly all break off and run to the audience, shaking as many hands as they could. Then they would group back together and march to the next corner. Very cool to watch.
The most poignant part for us though, was when a group of people walked down the street holding banners. It turns out each banner was for a fallen service member and it was called the Fallen Heroes Banner Project which is presented by the Washington State Gold Star Families (families of service men and women killed in action.) It really brought home the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms.
We were pleased and honored to be a part of this amazing tribute to our armed forces. Typically they are a small part of a larger parade so to have them be the complete focus and recognition of this entire parade was very powerful. The energy of the audience and their sincere appreciation for these heroes was truly heartwarming.
The 2015 Lilac Festival will be May 11-17, with the parade held on Saturday, May 16. If you want to be part of one of the largest events honoring our military, you will simply not want to miss it. Save the date.
We at Northwest Revealed also want to express our gratitude and thanks to all those who are serving, have served or gave their lives for our freedoms. We are eternally grateful.