Photos: Torrance salutes military at 60th Armed Forces Day march
While Torrance’s streets filled with camouflage and military blues and greens, the sidewalks were packed with red, white and blue as the Armed Forces Day parade rolled down Crenshaw Boulevard on Saturday afternoon.
The 60th annual parade — billed as the nation’s longest-running military procession — drew scores of civilians to ogle at the tanks, cannons and Humvees, the highlight of a weekend-long event.
“We’re excited we get to represent our armed forces,” said Col. Vince Krepps, who has been in the Air Force since 1988. “The public also gets a better understanding (so) it’s a good thing for them to see.”
“We’ve got a group of about 100 folks here to represent the U.S. Air Force,” he said. “Everyone’s pretty excited.”
The Marine Corps worked the crowd, throwing candy and foam hearts from their flak jackets while towing an artillery cannon — able to destroy anything up to 18 miles away, they said.
“When they see our weapons system … this parade will show them what the Marines have,” said Sgt. Jonathan Morales. “(This parade) helps us build the community with the city of Torrance.”
Cpl. Victor Medina returned home from deployment just two weeks ago, after a tour of duty to Syria and Jordan.
“I’m glad to be back,” he said. “The Marine Corps is a challenge and I like a challenge. It’s the toughest branch. … It’s nice for the military to come out. We work a lot but with the parade they can show their appreciation for everything we do.”
Myriad branches, age levels and ranks were present at the parade — from high-schoolers involved in ROTC to retired veterans who served in the Vietnam War. They were cheered by children barely old enough to walk, who waved their American flags and gave their very best salutes.
“I was raised very patriotic,” said Heidi Patten, clad in an American flag T-shirt and bright blue sunglasses. “(Americans) have got a good set of principles and they’re very grateful to be here. … I get really excited and choked up.”
Susan and Bill Talbot posted up near the beginning of the parade to salute the new generations of cadets. He served in Vietnam and said he wouldn’t have missed this event.
“I think we need more patriotism in the U.S. and this is a good start,” said Bill Talbot, who joined the Marines in 1968. “(Torrance) is a very patriotic city.”