TORRANCE, Calif.–The city of Torrance hosted its 58th Annual Armed Forces Day Celebration in honor of the military May 19-21. The weekend-long event included a concert, parade and military displays.
Each year, Torrance recognizes one of four military branches as the honored service. This year it was the Air Force, with Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, the commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as the parade’s grand marshal.
The Air Force Band of the Golden West performed at the local theater, and a military exhibit was on display every day of the Armed Forces Day Celebration. The exhibit included armored vehicles, aircraft, support equipment and more. Thousands of people, including civilians, veterans and service members gathered along Torrance Boulevard to enjoy the parade.
Rear Adm. Yancy B. Lindsey, the Navy Region Southwest commander, touched on the importance of the parade in bringing the civilian and military community together, to show service members and their families that they are appreciated.
”It shows the importance of service to your nation, in uniform or out. Our families need to know that the public appreciates what they do … service members serve, but we know our families serve too,” Lindsey said. Lindsey also toured the event locations and thanked service members along the way.
During the parade, World War II-era military aircraft flew overhead, low enough for the public to admire them, and Air Force parachutists jumped from contemporary military aircraft and landed on the parade route. The Torrance Armed Forces Day parade is the longest running Armed Forces Day parade in the nation. In 1960, Mayor Albert Isen began the parade to “increase public respect and understanding of the military service, and promote civic-military relationships”.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the 11th Coast Guard District commander, echoed the sentiments of Mayor Isen, “This is a fantastic event. It’s a good opportunity to tell the community what we do in the military, and also it’s a chance for all the services to come together and get to know each other.