Veterans Day is a day dedicated to honoring those who had served our country but COVID-19 didn't stop the community from celebrating all across Bakersfield. 23ABC's Bayne Froney attended some of these events and has a look at some of what happened around town.
Colorful cars and thankful community members all filled Bakersfield on Wednesday in honor of Veterans Day.
Due to COVID-19, the 101st Veterans Parade was canceled this year, but that didn't stop the community from celebrating those who've served. The Bakersfield Car Club Council, Honor Flight Kern County, and the Hospice Foundation organized a car cruise, bringing the parade to local veterans around town.
"We wouldn't have today if it wasn't for those people. If it wasn't for them who went out and protected us and put their lives on the line, we wouldn't be here today," said Misti Cole. "Just show our appreciation, fly our flags, and show our appreciation for all of the vets and for all of the things that they have done for us."
"I love seeing the people go by and I think it is wonderful. My husband was in the Marines and he loved it," said Loretta Dirksin, a resident of Pacifica Senior Living
The parade wasn't the only way the community was honoring Veterans Day. Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery and the VFW Post 97 unveiled 18 new headstones to line unmarked veterans' graves with Operation Headstone.
"You know what people tell me, is that no one is buried there. And someone is there. A veteran that served our country that gave everything up for our country, to serve and protect our country and no one thinks that they are there. They are forgotten," said Jim Lamar, president of Green Lawn Funeral Homes and Cemetery.
The event was joined by community members and Mayor Karne Goh, all honoring the veterans who had passed.
"Those of you who are here today who have sacrificed for us, thank you so much for your selfless sacrifice," said Goh.
Veterans and first responders also received free meals at the Elks Lodge in honor of the day. Local businesses and more than 100 volunteers helped put together to go bags with sandwiches, chips, and drinks as a way of saying thank you.
"As a veteran, It's great to have your service recognized," said Scott Belden. "There is a lot of sacrifices that goes along with being in the military service and having people recognize that and have a day set aside where you can relax and have people honor your service is awesome."