PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Thousands of neighbors from all walks of life turned out at the Palm Springs Air Museum to honor the brave men and women who fought and died for our country.

"It's a time we can hopefully remember those who protected our freedoms," said Ross Willour, of Palm Springs.

The Cathedral City High School color guard, airplanes and music guided the celebration as anticipation built for the grand Memorial Day flower drop tradition.
Three thousand carnations dropped onto the crowds below from a vintage World War II aircraft. The white carnations honored veterans who died fighting in World War I, World War II,  Korea and Vietnam. The red was in memory of those who fought in more recent wars, including Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I love my country and I'm grateful for them and what they've done for us," said Mande John, of Blythe.

With a photo and flower, families took home with them a little piece of history.

Col. James Trotman, an Air Force One pilot for then-President Ronald Reagan, encourages everyone, in uniform or not, to support the red, white and blue.

"Be patriotic, be blessed and at least once a day, say 'God bless America,'" said Trotman.