By Staff Sgt. Miriam EspinozaApril 16, 2013
PUYALLUP, Wash. - Springtime around the country can be a beautiful time; flowers start to bloom, the sun comes out more often, and families can start going to the park for picnics, but spring is especially beautiful in Washington.
The Pierce County Daffodil Parade is a perfect example of how beautiful springtime is. This year the county celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the parade. Approximately 40 floats freshly decorated with daffodils were led by soldiers from JBLM. The parade traveled through four cities; Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting.
The parade's origins date back to 1926 when daffodil growers from Sumner were hosts to civil leaders, and would arrange garden parties so their visitors would see the many varieties of locally grown daffodils in bloom. Among the honored guests were the mayors of Seattle and Tacoma. Maj. Gen. Robert Alexander, commander of Camp Lewis, brought a military band and a group of leaders from the post. Over the next seven years the garden party transformed into the parade it is today. According to Steve James, executive parade director, there's no other parade like this one that goes through four different cities in one day.
Soldiers at JBLM continuously work to strengthen relations with the surrounding communities. The I Corps Honor Guard and the 56th Army Band, along with 60 soldiers from 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., participated in this year's parade.
"We love the involvement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and we try to find ways to strengthen our relationship," said James.
"We are here to participate in this parade and show our pride to our civilian community," said Pfc. Monfort Karanganna, Stryker systems maintainer, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "I am really proud to be here representing my brigade."
The civilian community welcomed the participation of the soldiers with applause, salutes and standing ovations as they marched through the streets of Puyallup.
"We are appreciative that they are out here, it is a nice component, it makes up the parade and it kind of reminds us of what they are doing for our country," said Eric Lareasa, a human resources employee for Boeing company, after watching the soldiers march by.
Between 80,000 to 90,000 people showed up to enjoy the parade despite the cold, rainy and windy weather. "Its history, its tradition," said James.