Armed Forces Day Parade in downtown Bremerton 75 years
BREMERTON — Jacob Gesell’s return to the Armed Forces Day parade booked his time in high school. The Olympic High School senior, who plays tuba in the band, hadn’t marched there since college.
“It was really electric and awesome to be outside,” said Gessell, along with his sister Abby and girlfriend Koka Lyons, bandmates who lugged their instruments up Pacific Avenue after the parade.
The Trojans band performed Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Aztec Fire” and “September” as the parade returned after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic – and 75 years since the event was first held as part of Armed Forces Day.
Crowds of families flocked to the main parts of the route along Park Avenue, Fourth Street and Pacific. The parade was shorter than years past but had all the pomp and circumstance, including Navy and civic leaders riding in fancy hot rods, quirky floats, and yes, lots of high school bands.
On the south side of Fourth Street at Park Avenue, three generations of Christine Daugherty’s family watched as veteran motorcycle riders revved their engines. The 1981 graduates of Central Kitsap High School have missed few Armed Forces Day parades since. She has a son who was a Navy submariner and a daughter who was an Army nurse.
“We share it with the grandkids,” she said, noting that she brought children ages 4, 5, 7, and 8.
On the east side of Pacific Avenue near Dr. ML King Way lit up a grill for David Stewart to cook up hot dogs with grilled onions while marching bands rumbled by.
“We definitely missed this parade,” said Stewart, director of New Day Ministry, a nonprofit that ministers to the homeless and vulnerable from a building next to his grill. “Today we have nice weather and a great audience. Everyone loves it.”