MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines and sailors from the Combat Center supported the 13th annual Veterans Day Parade Wednesday in downtown Palm Springs, Calif.
Service members were in place before and during the parade and provided static displays of tanks and light armored vehicles for curious Palm Springs locals to admire. The Provost Marshal’s Office brought a mobile combat operations center while the Combat Center band played and led before the procession of the vehicles, said Gunnery Sgt. Edward H. Brickert, the operations chief for Company A, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
“It’s not bad doing the static display and parade,” said the Streator, Ill., native. “It’s good for all the young and older people out here to come together and celebrate the holiday and see what we do.”
Combat Center Marines supported the parade by displaying their gear before the parade, marching in it, and a band performance, Bridkert said.
Brickert said meeting with veterans and hearing their stories was one of the better parts of the event.
“I talked to this guy who was a World War II vet,” he said. “He was a paratrooper and got to do real combat jumps. It’s cool to meet the guys who influenced us to join the military. It’s like you always wanted to be like them when you were younger, now you get to meet with them face to face.”
Wayne Ritz, an avid supporter of the holiday, took time to sing various patriotic songs on the street to pay tribute to those who have served.
“I always admired anyone who took the chance to serve their country,” the Palm Springs native said. “I can sing, so it figures I could try and give back to those who have given so much by paying them tribute on their day every year.”
Veterans who met and talked with the service members from the Combat Center witnessed how the traditions of their services have been upheld in the modern day.
“It’s great to see young Marines still out there continuing what me and my friends did back in Korea,” said retired Sgt. Maj. Michael Willmore, an Indio, Calif., native. “I spent 31 years in the Corps. When I see the young Marines, it reminds me of myself a long time ago. Semper Fi and happy Veterans Day.”
Palm Springs will host its 14th parade next year. For more information on upcoming events in Palm Springs go to http://ci.palm-springs.ca.us.