Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Cathay Post Veterans Throw a Party
In news to me, the circular plot of grass in the park between the San Francisco Opera House and the Veterans Building is hallowed ground, with soil from all the battlefields where American soldiers have died.
On Sunday afternoon, there was a formal ceremony sponsored by the mostly Chinese-American Cathay Post of the American Legion.
Two new battlefield additions were being interred, from Iraq and Afghanistan, which is where the soldiers above were stationed.
There were a number of Junior ROTC groups performing, and as usual they were great.
They drew a few dancers from the San Francisco Ballet next door who were about to perform in Balanchine's "Jewels," including the outrageously talented Isaac Hernandez (above right).
San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong (above left) was attending, as usual looking stoic and lonely.
I knew a few of the gay veterans, who kindly invited me to the second floor Green Room in the Veterans Building for "great food and booze afterwards," but I couldn't make it.
The emcee from Cathay Post No. 384 was a character...
...reveling in elaborate introductions of just about every individual in the small crowd.
He also championed their work in Hepatitis B testing and prevention which is particularly virulent in the Chinese-American community. In fact, they make up around half the adult cases in San Francisco, which was also news to me.
Then he started a speech about how the Junior ROTC program was under attack in San Francisco city schools and needed to be saved. "Oh, oh," veteran John Caldera said, standing next to me. "This thing just got political. Very political."