Salute to Freedom in Dinuba

FRESNO, Calif.

The theme of Tuesday night's celebration was called a Salute to Freedom. And it drew in people not only from Dinuba, but the surrounding communities.

A skydiver strapped to a 100-foot American flag kicked off a patriotic night in Dinuba Tuesday, as 200-plus people watched from the bleachers at the high school's football field.

The local newspaper donated two vintage U.S. flags to the Alta District Historical Society. Event organizers say the flags are special.

John Sanchez said, "One has 48 stars and the other one flew over Afghanistan during a combat zone."

Sanchez decided to incorporate the symbols of freedom with Flag Day to provide an event where people could honor not only our veterans but police and fire fighters too. And that's especially important to Bob Ideishi -- who survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and credits fire fighters for saving his life.

Bob ideishi said, "They happened to mention my story and that kind of grew from there. They contacted me and asked me to participate in what I thought was a small event and now it's turned into something much bigger but actually much nicer as well. And more meaningful.

Ideishi was on the 55th floor of the World Trade Center when a plane stuck the tower that frightful day. Since then he's written a book about his story of survival. The crowd listened intently to the tense moments before -- during -- and after the terrorist attack.

Charlotte Montgomery came from Sanger to hear him speak. "It was touching. It makes me appreciate being an American."

This was the first Salute to Freedom event. But there is already talk of having making this an annual event.

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