PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Thousands of spectators lined Palm Canyon drive in downtown Palm Springs for the 17th annual city of Palm Springs Veterans Day parade. For the fifth year in a row, the Veterans Day National Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs designated the City of Palm Springs as a regional site for the observance of Veterans Day. Palm Springs is one of only 50 events nationwide to receive the designation.
A fly-over by four military planes set the tone for the event. Marching bands, dignitaries and members of the community of all ages made up the parade that gave their salute to service men and women. "It's amazing to see our community honor us in this fashion," said Navy veteran and Palm Springs resident Ed Casanova. "This is the best event this town puts on."
Hundreds of veterans stood in the crowd, each finding pride in seeing their branch of the armed forces represented, especially those who served in the Marine Corps. "Palm Springs really goes for the Marines in Twentynine Palms," said Navy veteran Albert Marion. "It's really neat because they really honor them and what they do for them that way."
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Major General David H . Berger took in the parade for the first time. He recognizes the base's tight relationship with the Coachella Valley. "There's a fence around Twentynine Palms, but it doesn't mean anything," said Major General Berger. "Between us and this city and the valley in between, they really take care of us. We cannot thank them enough."
The celebration also gives thanks to local families with loved ones currently serving. People like Ed Casanova, a veteran himself, his son is in the Air Force. "It is absolutely unique that a bond like that between a father and son can be solidified and honored and treasured in such a way as today," said Casanova.
A fireworks display closed the celebration, one that wouldn't be possible without the very men and women it recognizes. "They're on duty making sure that we can enjoy, we can continue to enjoy," said Major General Berger. "We're really proud of them overseas."