BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Hundreds of community members commemorated Memorial Day safely Monday as part of a special parade that passed by several Kern senior living facilities.

Most years, several events take place across the county to commemorate the holiday, but this year that was not the case due to COVID-19. Still, those who organized Monday’s parade said the message remains the same: To honor the men and women who gave everything for our freedom.

The procession passed by several senior living facilities including the Palms at San Lauren in northwest Bakersfield, and the Brookdale Senior Living Solutions facility in the southwest. Looking on from sidewalks, parking lots, and personal balconies, the seniors waved and smiled with enthusiasm.

Parade organizer lili marsh said while Memorial Day is about honoring those who are no longer with us, this year’s parade was also about sending a message to the living heroes who lost brothers and sisters in war:

“To let the veterans, the living veterans know we have not forgotten their fallen comrade,” Marsh, director of Kern County Honor Flight, said. “Most of them have been tucked away for two months or so. They do not even know what a car parade is.”

Out of an abundance of caution, none of the participants was permitted to approach the residents, but organizers said without a doubt, the special ceremony touched the seniors who looked on.

“This way we could blend a little bit of sunshine to them, as well as a little bit of solemnness,” said Marc Sandall, a parade organizer. “We won’t forget, we’re never going to forget. I think it’s our duty of americans to never forget. This is our way of doing it,” he continued.

Parade organizers said, regardless of how the siutation stands next year, they hope to plan a similar parde for those in Kern senior living facilities.