Wednesday, November 15, 2006
War and Peace 3
Because of a small airplane convention on Saturday, the Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade was held on Sunday the 12th...
...along Palm Canyon Boulevard, and it was even larger than the San Francisco affair.
The Southern California desert has long been extremely militarized, with a huge Marine base in Twenty-Nine Palms next to Joshua Tree National Park.
There are also weapons testing ranges pockmarked throughout the entire region.
We watched the parade from the verandah of the big Mexican restaurant in Palm Springs called Las Casuelas...
...along with Heidi and Steve, who are old friends from Santa Barbara.
When jeeps drove down the parade route carrying Marines who had been wounded and received Purple Hearts, Heidi burst into tears.
She's the daughter of a Marine lifer and was born on the base in Camp Pendleton while her mother was reading "War and Peace."
"It's so sad," she said between tears.
Her husband Steve, meanwhile, had darted to the sidewalk to look at all the military hardware which completely thrilled him.
This was in spite of the fact that Steve is a Vietnam Veteran who has been on partial disability most of his adult life and has had psychological problems from his war experience ever since.
He's a peacenik who loves the trappings of the military, and he even had us watch a double bill of "The Great Escape" and "The Magnificent Seven" later on television that evening.
There were old Pearl Harbor survivors marching and riding down the street, the last American soldiers who were actually in a defensive rather than an offensive war.
Two groups decided to proclaim their exceptionalism...
...which seemed somewhat ridiculous.
Even in Republican-dominated, military worshiping Coachella Valley, however, the Iraq War is looked upon with horror and revulsion.
The peacenik groups were warmly received...
...as was the Vietnam veteran and local vacuum proprietor who lives his life in public as Elvis.