SGVJOURNAL, West Valley Journal, Monterey Park News

Switch to desktop

Veterans' Day Event Held At 'Cinco Puntos'

  • By Shel Segal
VeteransDayEastLA2EAST LOS ANGELES - More than 100 people came together at "Cinco Puntos" - the intersection of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Indiana and Lorena streets which is laced with war memorials - to honor veterans from around the country and specifically those from East Los Angeles on Thursday.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner George Ramos - who served in Vietnam - said we need to honor those who give sacrifice to their country.

"On this day we can tell the veterans ‘thank you for your service,'" Ramos said. "That's an important reminder for all of us. With every generation there's another generation of young ones who sacrifice their lives and help us to enjoy the freedoms that we have."

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar said while debates over wars will and should always continue, debates over supporting the troops are finished.

"We may debate whether we should have been in Vietnam, if we should have been in Iraq or Afghanistan, but we never debate our support for our veterans," Huizar said. "There's so much thanks to be given."

Outgoing state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-East Los Angeles) said the contribution of the Latino community to the nation's military is immeasurable.

"I think the celebration here goes beyond ‘Cinco Puntos,' beyond East Los Angeles," she said. "The commemoration we hold here is symbolic of the Spanish-speaking who have served this great country. The celebration that takes place here at ‘Cinco Puntos' sends a message from the people here to this great state, this great nation."

She added veterans need to be remembered at all levels of government and by all government officials.

"The challenge for us is to make sure our government, our country, our state serves the veterans who have served us, making sure there are jobs and benefits," Romero said.

Carlos Venegas with Echo Park-based Veterans For America echoed that sentiment, adding more is being done for veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan than when he came home from three years in Vietnam.

He added there is much more to be done, however.

"The issue of finding employment and making an adjustment to civilian life is difficult for this group," Venegas said. "But I think we have made an improvement as a society, because when the Vietnam era veterans came back there was denial. We didn't recognize them coming home. Thirty something years later current veterans have support."

Tony Zapata of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4696 in East Los Angeles said while his organization has held an event at "Cinco Puntos" for many years, this is the first time a Veterans' Day event has been held, adding he is looking to hold it annually.

"It is very important on this day to honor our veterans," Zapata said. "We owe them a lot for keeping this country free. These people put their lives on the line for this country."

Sgt. David Martin, who is in the Army and served in Iraq from 2005 to 2007, agreed.

"It means a lot," he said of the event and of the holiday. "A lot of people don't take this holiday into account. A lot of our friends don't know what we've been through. This gives people a view of what we do and how we help the country."

(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

2013 SGVJournal. Developed and Designed by Charlene on Green

Top Desktop version