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Camp Pendleton, birthday of Marine Corps

Camp Pendleton, birthday of Marine Corps
(This set of photos is best viewed by using the set labeled "Camp Pendleton, 231st Birthday Marines") In 2006 I was invited to join a friend and retired Marine Corps colonel, for the annual ceremony marking the birthday of the Marines. The Marines consider the Corps as having started in 1775 (the year before the Declaration of Independence) and thus 2006 was the 231st birthday. I thought the ceremony would be an interesting opportunity to focus my reflections on the role of the military in the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also an opportunity to gather experiential material for my teaching on gender, social class, and power structures. I expected the ceremony also to be dramatically interesting with historical rituals, good music from military bands, large contingents of Marines marching in full-dress uniforms, and bleachers packed with vocally and visually patriotic civilians and other military. To be completely honest, as a veteran who is sympathetic to the military but also against the wars, I actually expected to have somewhat of a feeling of being in alien territory.

I was just over half wrong. The ceremony on the field did consist of historic rituals, the music was quite good, and the overall experience did provide an abundance of material for reflection on the wars, gender, class and power. But, the large contingents of Marines did not exist, civilian attendance was sparse, and the atmosphere off the field was of a relatively comfortable, small-town, celebration among friends.

......

The following pictures in this set are a mix of photos of the ceremony and photos of the audience. Photos are generally in the order they were taken, with some minor rearrangement by the component of the event.

Though I provide only brief commentary in the following, I hope that viewers will spend some time reflecting on two contradictions that are evident in these photos. One contradiction is simply the disconnect between the simplistic 'jarhead' images of Marines that are popularly held in the wider culture, versus what is visible in many of these photos. The other contradiction is only implied and not visibly represented, which is that the lives of the eager, hopeful, young men and women who are in the photos, are at the hands of much older and much wealthier civilian force that has no experience with the exigencies of military life or the rigors of combat.

The birthday celebration is best viewed by using the set labeled "Camp Pendleton, 231st Birthday Marines"

Comments
James Ruddy
James Ruddy
I assume you transferred these from flickr? I didn't see the other photo of the event anywhere.
4 years ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs travels)
Don Barrett (aka DBs…
Yep, I'll be bringing more over eventually.
4 years ago.
James Ruddy
James Ruddy
Good, cause now I want to see the rest of them after reading your account of the event.
4 years ago.
Diane Putnam
Diane Putnam
How interesting, Don. In the previous shot, I did wonder why the stands were almost empty. I, too, would have expected a lot more participation by the public. Maybe the event wasn't promoted.
16 months ago.