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Hundreds cheer along downtown streets for annual Los Banos Veterans Parade

Residents watch as parade floats honoring veterans roll by during the Los Banos Veterans Parade Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in downtown Los Banos.
Residents watch as parade floats honoring veterans roll by during the Los Banos Veterans Parade Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in downtown Los Banos. vshanker@losbanosenterprise.com

Hundreds of people lined the downtown streets for Saturday’s Los Banos Veterans Parade.

More than 50 veterans marched along with about 65 displays as the fourth annual parade honored veterans of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm of the Persian Gulf War.

Scores of U.S. flags were on display and being waved by people along the parade route as schools, local groups, first responders and organizations of veterans and veteran services rolled down Sixth Street.

“On one hand, it’s important to have this honor and show appreciation for the generations of veterans in town,” organizer and Operation Desert Storm veteran Patricia Booth McCoy said. “On the other hand, it’s important to continue educating both the young and older generations in the community.”

The parade was held the weekend before Veterans Day to avoid conflicts with other Central Valley Veterans Day events, McCoy said.

Los Banos has honored veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War in recent years. For the second straight year, a Lockheed MC-130P airplane from the 130th Rescue Squadron made two passes over the city.

“That is something special,” McCoy said. “The flyover is not something every parade, every city gets to have. There’s a lot involved to make that happen.”

After the parade, organizers held a program for veterans at the Los Banos Veterans Memorial Hall. There, three unaffiliated judges announced Most Patriotic School awards to Westside Union Elementary, Los Banos Junior High and Pacheco High, McCoy said. Those schools are expected to receive the awards at the next Los Banos City Council meeting, Nov. 15.

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