Monday, June 10, 2013

Big Bear to salute our military June 15

In the spirit of “Hey, this is Big Bear,” the Old Miners Association and American Legion Post 584 stand ready to welcome you Saturday, June 15, to the 2013 “Big Bear Thanks You” reception beginning at 11 a.m. and Big Bear Heritage Parade at 4 p.m.

And to paraphrase the US Armed Forces slogan, “The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer,” Big Bear Convention Center hosts Anthony and Monica Marini are not allowing a kitchen fire last week to mar what promises to be a great celebration. As they say, “This is Big Bear. We get right up, dust ourselves off.”

Everything is in place. The community is anxious to meet and greet the men and women in uniform who keep our nation and communities safe – at home and abroad.

Reception participants who provide vital community outreach efforts – from Lifestream’s bloodmobile to Scouting, Coast Guard boating safety displays to American Legion, Marine Corps League and Historical Society – are ready to go. Formidable military equipment and SWAT tactical units will be on hand, as will the men and women in uniform for whom this celebration honors.

A memorial program at noon begins with an all-service Color Guard posting of the colors. Congressman Paul Cook and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, Big Bear Mayor Pro Tem David Caretto and Post 584 Commander Bill Wilson will acknowledge area military commanders USMC Major General David Berger, Army Brigadier General Ted Martin, Air Force Colonel Doug Planer and Coast Guard Auxiliary Commodore Alfred Verdi and thank them for their service. In return, Big Bear residents will be recognized for their traditional patriotic support.

During a special presentation, Sheriff John McMahon will introduce Deputy Alex Collins as this year’s Old Miners Grand Marshal. Collins was severely wounded in the line of duty during the infamous Christopher Dorner incident that shocked our mountain communities earlier this year. County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig will recognize his people who braved deadly gunfire in the manhunt that ultimately concluded at Seven Oaks.

Cook and Donnelly, who represent Big Bear, will make brief presentations recognizing the service of our men and women in uniform. The city of Big Bear Lake has declared June 15 as “Alex Collins Day” to honor his service.

To conclude the memorial ceremony, country singer Brent Payne and Old Miners President Dayan Anderson will sing “Some Gave All,” with Mike Cross on piano.

Southern California residents are invited to be part of the ceremony at the Convention Center, and then enjoy the 2013 Big Bear Heritage Parade.

Stepping off from Big Bear Boulevard and China Garden Road at 4 p.m., more than 70 entrants – including earth-rattling military vehicles from Ft. Irwin, the famed California Air National Guard Band and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Big Bear Valley Historical Society will again present a peek at Big Bear Valley’s colorful past, and a platoon of veteran entertainers from television and film, marching bands and specialty units that speak to Big Bear’s eclectic nature will do their “Big Bear thing.”

Cheers and see you all Saturday!

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