By Denise Ortuno Neil
During the week of Veterans Day, one way to give thanks and honor those who have served our country, is to visit the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit.
The museum is situated just east of Indio off the I-10 in the desert area of Chiriaco Summit. On approaching the memorial, you will notice classic war tanks which will guarantee that you have arrived at the right place. The museum, built back in 1988, was founded and the land donated by Joseph and Ruth Chiriaco. The museum offers many exhibits and memorabilia as well as Remembrance Walls honoring WWI, WWII, West Coast Vietnam, Korean War, Service to South Korea service members and Defenders of Freedom which include those who served from the first Gulf War to current day, as well as first responders, fireman, law enforcement and E.M.T. The museums Remembrance Walls are open to add a name of those who have served, be it by the service person themselves, or by a loved one or friend of a service person. The donation fee for adding a name goes to support the museum.
The museum is dedicated to General Patton and sits on the site of his headquarters for the Desert Training Center. Is was in 1942 when Patton headed up the Desert Training Center at the Chiriaco site, 40 miles east of Palm Desert, known back then as Palm Village. It was the most expansive military training camp in the world extending to the edge of Nevada and Arizona where over 1,000,000 soldiers were trained. The massive desert terrain was perfect to train troops who would later be deployed to North Africa where Patton and his men defeated the Germans in WWII. In 1943, the army proceeded to anchor in another training area, this time smack dab in the middle of Palm Village (Palm Desert) across Hwy 111 into the Deep Canyon area into the cove. The camp simulated actual military life, complete with artillery, foxholes and buried tents among other necessary army buildings. The company occupying the Palm Village camp were eventually sent to join other troops at Omaha Beach June 6th of 1944…D-Day.
A memorial was dedicated to General Patton and his troops in 1958 on El Paseo, and later was moved to the library on Portola, now the city’s community center.
At first the museum highlighted the accomplishments of Patton and his men, but later expanded to include all military service from WWI to the current day fight against terrorism.
From the tanks, to the memorabilia, to the Remembrance Walls, a visit to the General Patton Memorial Museum is an excellent way to honor and give thanks to those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom and justice. It is an educational and humbling experience for men, women and children. Thank you to all those brave souls who have fought for our way of life….I am eternally grateful.
For more information on the General Patton Memorial Museum visit www.GeneralPattonMuseum.com .