Why does the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce Host the Annual Armed Forces Day Parade?

In order to answer that question, I'll have to provide a little history.

First, there is no doubt that Bremerton is a proud Navy town! Bremerton was born in 1891, the same year as Naval Base Kitsap and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and the two have been inextricably entwined ever since.

How so, you ask? Naval Base Kitsap is by far the largest employer in Kitsap County and defense contractors make up a large percentage as well. Add to that the local industries and small businesses that support those employees and you get the picture.

Now back to history. Bremerton Chamber of Commerce was born not much later than Naval Base Kitsap, first as Bremerton Improvement Club (BIC) in 1902. Then Bremerton Board of Trade was started in 1904. Board of Trade absorbed BIC and was organized as Bremerton Chamber of Commerce in 1907 to promote PSNS and the affairs pertaining to the well being of Bremerton.

Fast forward to 1948 when Bremerton Chamber of Commerce organized a parade honoring Bremertonian John "Bud" Hawk after he was presented with the Medal of Honor for his heroism in World War II. The next year in 1949 Armed Forces Day became a national holiday honoring all branches of service. The Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade has been running ever since and is the largest and longest running Armed Forces Day Parade in the nation. Bremerton Chamber of Commerce member businesses, like Parade Title Sponsor Kitsap Credit Union, step up to support the parade and contribute their time as well as their financial contributions. It's truly a community effort.

Every year 20,000 people come to Bremerton and line the streets to celebrate our local armed forces. They want to acknowledge the service of this all too often overlooked part of our community and to say thank you...just as the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce has done since 1948!

Denise Frey, President and CEO