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Tehachapi celebrates Independence Day by honoring active military

Tehachapi Wall of Valor
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 20:49:19-04

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KERO) — The fireworks were not until Monday night but the Tehachapi community did not waste any time and celebrated Independence Day starting early in the morning. It started with a 5k run followed by a pancake breakfast and then a festival at Central Park.

You could hear live music from blocks away and the smell of all the foods being served by the vendors filled the air at Central Park, but at the heart of the celebration was a wall of valor, which organizers say is a way to remember that independence comes at a cost.

"Part of the auxiliary, we put this wall together for the town to honor all our active military, these are all of our children," said Jennie Settelemyer, one of the Four Seasons Blue Star mothers.

The wall featured the faces of all of the active-duty members from Tehachapi, among them, is Settlemeyer’s son. But for her, it was seeing all the community members who stopped to look at the display and think about the importance of the day.

"We as a nation have a duty to continue our patriotism and honor those who have sacrificed their time and life for all of us in this nation."

One of the organizers of the wall was Vietnam veteran Lynn Eckert who explained many don’t know the difference between the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.

"Fourth of July means to recognize all of our current military men and women who are serving worldwide. Memorial Day is for all of us to remember all of our veterans who have passed and served and gave the ultimate sacrifice and Veterans Day is a day to celebrate veterans like me and thank us for our service."

And because everyone celebrates a little bit differently, while some wore their favorite red white, and blue outfit, one man took it to the next level.

"Fourth of July is all about celebrating our nation's history," said Cody Hurt.

That is why for four years now he has dressed up as a minuteman, those who played a crucial role in the Revolutionary War. He also carried the original flag representing the 13 colonies and stopped to take pictures and talk about that history with others.

"Minutemen because it really shows off the foundation of our nation’s history, July 4th, 1776, and going forth from there it just goes back to the creation of this nation."