The history of the dunes
For a brief time in our Nation's history, what is now the Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area was part of the largest military training grounds in the history of military maneuvers in support of our efforts in World War II. The Desert Training Center, also known as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA) stretched east from the outskirts of Pomona to within 50 miles of Phoenix, southward to the tip of Yuma, and north into the southern tip of Nevada.
Many military exercises took place in the desert and some artifacts were left behind when operations ceased. The shifting sands have covered many of them though there are a few metal containers in the dunes that persevere the harsh climate.
The original flag pole was erected on one of these boxes in 2000 as a memorial to Chuck Boardman. His plaque was the only one affixed to the box until 2009 when others began attaching their own memorials to the box.
Before social media, the mass use of GPS navigation, and destination rides were common, the flag pole was a frequent stop for our GlamisDunes.com riding group that hailed from Wash 13.5. Not much beats letting the bikes cool off and enjoying an Ice Cold Delicious Beverage in the dunes while appreciating the view of Old Glory on the horizon. By 2003 the flag had become weathered and in need of replacement... a spark was ignited and a concept formed for the first "gathering" to replace the flag, recognize our veterans, and celebrate our freedoms.
The first Veterans Day celebration and changing of the flag took place on November 13th, 2004. We had a massive group ride to flag pole with everyone encouraged to fly the American Flag on their ride. We listened to the history of Veterans Day, observed a moment of silence before Taps was played. We changed out the flag and pledged our allegiance to it. There was a "roll call" of all veterans in attendance and each veteran was able to sound off with their dates and branch of service along with any particulars they cared to share before being thanked for their service and receiving a personalized Certificate of Appreciation. The weekend activities also included a cleanup of Oldsmobile Hill, a coloring contest and patriotic activities for the kids. This served as the beginning of what was to become one of the most meaningful annual events in the Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area.
For 16 years the Glamis Veterans Day Gathering took place under the under the watchful eye of Slappy McDuner and the GlamisDunes.com crew. For many, this event has become a tradition and truly embodies the spirit of our off-road community. The event itself has taken on a life of it's own and the need to preserve it for generations to come was the catalyst for GlamisVeterans.org, a non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to sustain the event and continue the legacy of patriotic duners recognizing our Nation's military veterans.