Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and throughout the Northwest region participated in Bremerton’s 67th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade May 16.

Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, Stennis’ executive officer, and Stennis’ Sailor of the Year Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Isiah M. Burns, rode alongside past and present servicemembers in honor of the U.S. military and the patriotic service given in support of the country.

“I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of patriotism from the Bremerton and Kitsap County communities,” said Hakimzadeh. “The entire parade route was lined with people. It’s great to live in such a military friendly area, and the men and women serving our country are proud to be members of the community.”

The Bremerton Chamber of Commerce organized the parade, which included more than 150 entries. Participants ranged from active-duty military members, veterans, state and local officials, high school marching bands and community leaders.

“It is a great experience; every year I do it,” said Frank Gentile, Bremerton Chamber of Commerce member and 20-year resident. “Sometimes military servicemembers can be taken for granted, so it is incredible to have this chance to give them a once-a-year public thank you.”

Held in downtown Bremerton, the parade is the largest and longest running Armed Forces Day Parade in the nation. According to the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce website, the annual attendance ranges from 25,000 to 30,000 people from Washington, with entries from as far away as Oregon and Spokane.

“It goes a long way to see this kind of support from a community that always backs you up,” said Burns, from Philadelphia. “It’s an honor for my wife and I to be part of this parade and reminds me that I am nothing without the support of my friends and family back home.”

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