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Stars, Stripes, and Thanks. Veterans Day Parade Returns in Fresno

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The Duncan Polytechnical High School JROTC unit marches in the 2021 Fresno Veterans Day Parade. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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As thousands lined the streets of downtown Fresno, it was as if the Veterans Day Parade had never skipped a beat.

The pandemic forced last year’s version to be online only. On Thursday, the marching bands played patriotic music. Politicians gave grand speeches thanking those who served. And, young and old alike waved flags cheering on the military men and women who protect freedom.

The 102nd edition of the parade featured fancy cars carrying dignitaries, such as Mayor Jerry Dyer and members of the Fresno City Council; several veterans groups; and communities and businesses that wanted to show their appreciation.

Grand marshals Scott and Linda Phillips ride in the 2021 Fresno Veterans Day Parade (GV Wire/David Taub)

Veteran in Crowd: Glad Parade is Back

Robin Gonzales had a front row seat near City Hall. The Navy veteran — who now works in Veterans Affairs — brought her sister and niece along.

“I’m happy it is back this year because last year, the pandemic … we had to watch on TV. But to be here in person, be present, see everyone, thank everyone. It’s a great honor,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’ 10-year old niece, Aveline Torres, liked seeing all the parade entries.

Krystle Torres, Aveline’s mom, is a teacher at Williams Elementary School. She brought several cards for the veterans, handmade by her students.

Veteran Robin Gonzales (thumbs up) attended the parade with her sister Krystle Torres and niece Aveline. (GV Wire/David Taub)

A Re-enlistment in Front of Thousands

“I originally joined because of the work the Navy does and the humanitarian aid that it does in other countries.”PO3 Austin Banks

Among the pre-parade ceremonies was a naval reenlistment oath administered by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer to Petty Officer Third Class Austin Banks.

“I really appreciate the mayor for everything he did. It was great,” Banks said.

Banks, a young man originally from Detroit, Michigan, is stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. He signed up for four more years.

“I just enjoy traveling the world, helping everybody. I originally joined because of the work the Navy does and the humanitarian aid that it does in other countries. It’s just something I want to be a part of,” Banks said.

Petty Officer Third Class Austin Banks (right) takes the reenlistment oath from Mayor Jerry Dyer (left) as veteran Dan Payne watches. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email