Wednesday is the day reserved for Americans to pause and pay tribute to the military men and women who have served this country. And Wednesday's parade in Bakersfield will be one for the history books.
With 147 entries, this year's Veterans Day parade in Bakersfield will be one of the biggest in recent memory and the royalty for this year's parade has a hometown connection. Air Force Staff Sergeant Aimee Roth, 24, and her husband, Staff Sergeant John Roth, will reign as parade king and queen.
"I'm honored, but a bit suprised, because there are a lot of people who've served in the military from Bakersfield," said Aimee Roth. "It's a big city, so I wouldn't think that John and I would be picked, so it's an honor."
Aimee and John Roth first met while stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He's from Santa Maria. Aimee is a local gal, born and raised in Bakersfield, a graduate of Highland High School.
A former aircraft fuels systems mechanic, Aimee is now a Chaplain's Assistant at Mountain Home. "Chaplains and Chaplain's Assistants have full confidentiality which is something no one else in the military has. If you told me something and you're Air Force, or a dependent, even if the president came down here and asked me what you said, I couldn't tell him," said Aimee Roth.
The Roths will preside over a parade that will conclude with a flag-draped coffin, a gesture of honor and a tribute to our veterans, both living and deceased. Inside the coffin are the names of fallen veterans.
"We just put something together, not to give Mission Family Mortuary any credit, but to give those families who've lost a loved one or a friend, a way to honor them in a special way," said Risto Rubio of Mission Family Mortuary.
Dee Dee Morris, her mother and aunt, submitted the names of her father and uncle. "They are owed so much respect and honor for protecting our country."
Robert Sanchez placed the name of his brother, a Vietnam veteran killed in 1971. "I think it will be signficant to all vets in Kern County," Sanchez said.
Monday night, Boomer Montgomery stopped by Post 26, and placed in the coffin, the name of Vietnam veteran Douglas Frank Strait. "He was 'KIA'd' 1970, October 18th, and I wore his name around my wrist for the past 15 years," said Montgomery.
The flag-draped coffin will be the final entry, pulled by a horse drawn carriage.
The 90th annual Bakersfield Veterans Day Parade starts Wednesday at 10 a.m., with a fly-over of two F-16's from Edwards Air Force Base. The parade route starts at 22nd and L Streets, heads west on 21st, south on G and then east on 20th back to M Street.