Vets welcomed, Hollywood style

May 20, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- With warplanes roaring across a blue sky, tanks rolling down Sunset Boulevard and anti-war activists providing a staunch protest, Los Angeles threw a homecoming parade for troops returning from the Persian Gulf war with the showy, flag-waving flair that only Hollywood could provide.

An audience estimated at 500,000 to 1 million lined the 3.2-mile Hollywood parade route yesterday, enthusiastically cheering more than 5,000 troops returned from victory in the war with Iraq. Many warriors still exhibited the stone-faced military discipline in their invasion of Hollywood, while such celebrities as Bob Hope and Roseanne Barr played to the crowd.

As troop formations, tanks and floats trundled along Sunset Boulevard, an array of modern and vintage warplanes streaked over the parade route, banking north past the hilltop Hollywood sign, which was festooned with a yellow ribbon for the occasion.

Soldiers from Fort Irwin held down an oversized helium-filled replica of an M-1 Abrams tank.

Big cheers also greeted veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The response was especially sweet for Vietnam veterans.

"I've more or less buried the hatchet and I'm out here to support these guys . . . ," said Vietnam veteran Kurt Phillips. Disabled in a non-service injury, Phillips sat in a wheelchair alongside other patients from a Veterans Administration hospital. "It's a welcome home for me and all the Vietnam vets, too."

Nearby, anti-war activists who had been rebuffed in an attempt to march in the parade before made one last attempt, but were turned away.

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