On any other day, the parking lot of the Porterville Veterans Memorial building would be empty. But on one Saturday in October, it was teeming with veterans and a crew of filmmakers.
“My heart is pumping,” American Legion Commander Don Dowling told the Porterville Recorder that morning. “I’m really excited about this. I’ve been working on it now for the past three months.”
Shooting began at 10 a.m. that morning. With three mounted cameras and a small handheld camera. The crew also recorded some dramatic aerial footage with a drone.
The parade begins with an appearance from the American Legion Colorguard, who hoisted their flags with pride. Then, the camera snakes through a group of Porterville area veterans marching in formation. After their salute to viewers, the Porterville Memorial Board is next to take the frame of view, followed by the Sons of the American Legion Post 779.
The Sons of the American Legion carried a banner supporting the election campaign of current 3rd Area Commander Edward Patino, marching closely behind.
The virtual parade’s Grand Marshal is Vietnam war veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient John Alba, who was filmed walking alongside Veterans Homecoming Queen Madison Chapman and her father Brian Chapman, the Porterville Recorder reports.
At the end of the parade, the American Legion Riders rolled through, their bikes polished and decorated with American flags.
While staging and filming the parade, Dowling and other veterans shared a few special moments together as they laughed and called out the military cadences they had learned in the service.
The parade was filmed in about an hour, but it will take longer to edit the different shots together, adding Dowling’s narration on top. On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, the short film will be played on local news channels across California’s Central Valley.
“I am so excited to show the City of Porterville that we care,” Dowling said. “This is one of our number one actions; we love it. We veterans do it because we love Porterville. We love our nation, and our county, and our city. And we’re proud; we’re really proud of it. We just want to show our city how really proud we are.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.