Remembering Vets With Monuments and Jobs

November 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1938 the U.S. Congress made November 11 a national holiday to honor veterans who fought in World War I. Formerly known as Armistice Day, veterans service organizations urged Congress to expand the honor to all veterans by replacing the word “armistice” with “veterans,” which they did in 1954.

In the 79 years since, the country has continued to honor men and women who have served in the military. It’s a tradition being played out again this week in neighborhoods and cities all across Los Angeles County.

At parades and carnivals, job fairs and somber memorials, people will celebrate the bravery and the sacrifice made by U.S. veterans as a community, including in Northeast Los Angeles where a World War II Medal of Honor recipient will have a memorial monument dedicated in his honor on a local high school campus.

For some veterans, the day is a time to reflect on their own service.

“The Marines made me the man I am today,” said Pedro Barajas, who grew up in the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Cypress Park and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in Highland Park in 1986.

Now 50-years-old, Barajas told EGP that for him Veterans Day is a time to proudly remember his fours years as a Marine and the “brothers” with whom he served.

“Coming home, I had the resources and support to transition back to civilian life,” said Barajas, who served in the Marines from 1988 to 1992.

But not everyone had the same support, he said, telling EGP stories of veterans who struggled to find jobs and to overcome financial hardships.

A monument to recognize World War II Medal of Honor recipient Sadao S. Munemori will be placed on the campus of his alma mater, Lincoln High School in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. (Smithsonian archive photo)

A monument to recognize World War II Medal of Honor recipient Sadao S. Munemori will be placed on the campus of his alma mater, Lincoln High School in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. (Smithsonian archive photo)

Recognizing veterans for their service is an important cause for Vera Padilla, treasurer of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council. She recalls meeting Vietnam veterans who felt they had received little support or recognition from their neighbors. Padilla told EGP that in 2011 she organized a meeting of local groups to discuss how they could honor veterans who live in Lincoln Heights. It was a very personal cause for her, said Padilla, whose brother and sister served in the U.S Marines and Navy respectively.

The groups decided to recognize the service of local vets with a plaque at Lincoln High School, said Padilla, who graduated from Lincoln in 1964. “The majority of the veterans are from the community,” Padilla points out. “We felt the high school was the best place to honor them.”

The plaque is prominently displayed in front of the school auditorium.

Today, the neighborhood council and community will honor Lincoln High Class of 1940 graduate Sadao S. Munemori who was killed in action in Seravezza, Italy in 1945 during WWII

The son of Japanese immigrants, Army Private First Class Munemori was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that is only awarded to members of the military who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.

Munemori is credited with diving on a grenade that was “rolling toward his helpless comrades.” He “smothered its blast with his body,” saving “the lives of two of his men at the cost of his own life,” according to the record of his commendation.

“A monument is a way to properly honor him and instill pride and inspiration in students at Lincoln,” says Padilla.

On Wednesday, the current plight of veterans was acknowledged with the opening of a new job training and placement center not far from where thousands of veterans live on the streets in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County opened a new job training and placement center for veterans Wednesday at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Office of Sup. Hilda Solis)

Los Angeles County opened a new job training and placement center for veterans Wednesday at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Office of Sup. Hilda Solis)

Located in the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, the Los Angeles County Veterans America’s Job Center (Veterans AJCC) provides employment and training services tailored to meet the needs of veterans and their families.

First District Supervisor Hilda Solis told EGP via email that the opening is in keeping with the County’s growing emphasis on workforce development for priority populations, like veterans.

There is nothing more important than ensuring that veterans are able to access the resources they need to transition their experience, interests, and skills to civilian life, Solis said.

“This is the County’s way of giving back to our Veterans, who have sacrificed so much for us.”

The dedication of the Sadao S. Munemori Memorial is open to the public and will take place from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Lincoln High School: 3510 N. Broadway, Los Angeles 90031.


Congressman Becerra Presents Flag to Cal State LA Veterans

November 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

“Veterans have made sacrifices on behalf of all Americans and their service should never be forgotten,” Rep. Xavier Becerra said Tuesday during a ceremony honoring student veterans at Cal State LA where he presented a flag that flew at the U.S. Capitol.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to present this flag to all those warriors who are here at Cal State LA,” said Becerra, whose 34th Congressional District includes Eastside neighborhoods served by the university.

The flag was accepted by senior Thomas Lawson, a Navy veteran and president of the Cal State LA Student Veterans Organization.

Left to right: Cal State LA student veteran Thomas Lawson, President William A. Covino, Rep. Xavier Becerra and alumnus and veteran Louis Guan with flag presented to the University by Becerra.  ( J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Left to right: Cal State LA student veteran Thomas Lawson, President William A. Covino, Rep. Xavier Becerra and alumnus and veteran Louis Guan with flag presented to the University by Becerra.
( J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Cal State LA President William A. Covino said the university owes a debt of gratitude to veterans.

“We are proud that they answered the call to serve in the armed forces and proud of their work on campus and in the community,” Covino said. “They demonstrate the meaning of our mission of engagement, service, and the public good.”

More than 500 veterans are enrolled at Cal State LA, which has been recognized by US News & World Report as one of the best public universities in the West for veterans. The University’s Veterans Resource Center, which sponsored the ceremony, specializes in offering academic support counseling, peer counseling and other services to student veterans.

The ceremony began with a moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by veteran and Los Angeles County firefighter Humberto Agurcia. The Valley Veterans Memorial Team, which is composed of local veterans, presented the colors.

 Members of the Valley Veterans Memorial Team. (J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Members of the Valley Veterans Memorial Team. (J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Vets Deserve More Than Accolades on Veterans Day, Especially If They’re Homeless

November 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The County and City of Los Angeles have begun to pay more attention to the many needy veterans living in our communities.

Tragically, many of this country’s veterans are homeless and suffer from PTSD, but find it hard to get the help they need, whether it’s housing, medical attention or mental health services.

The pledge by local officials to provide millions of dollars to fund the creation of temporary and permanent supportive housing for homeless vets is long overdue.

It’s easy to honor and admire veterans who have returned home as heroes and have managed to recover from their war experience and adjust to civilian life.

It’s not as easy to pick up and help those who have returned with broken minds, bodies and spirits.

But as a country, we have an obligation to help those who serve in our military branches and put their lives on the line to protect us from our enemies abroad and the threat of terrorism here at home.

The situation for our Vets, whether they served in wars of long ago or recently, continues to deteriorate at an astounding and shameful pace. It seems to us that before we can truly begin to help, we have to answer some very crucial questions about how we got to this point.

How is it that we allowed our military personnel to separate from the various branches of the Armed Forces without knowing if they are in need of counseling, or whether they have a home, job,  and more importantly, a family to return to?

Unless we take the time to answer that question, we will continue down the same path. It’s a path which leads too many returning vets to commit suicide, become homeless and stay unemployed.

So on November 11, when we observe Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on what you can do to make a difference in the life of a veteran, give thanks for their service and give them the respect they deserve.

Community Calendar: Nov. 5, 2015 – Nov. 11, 2015

November 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thursday Nov. 5

6pm—The Wall Las Memorias Project 6th Annual ROJO: Food Tasting & Awards Benefit at Cicada Restaurant in downtown L.A. Proceeds from the event help fund health & wellness programs and services around Los Angeles. Location: Cicada Restaurant, 617 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles 90042. For more info:

6:30pm—City of Los Angeles’ Emergency Management Dept Seminar in Glassell Park. Learn what to do to prepare for El Nino torrential rainfall, which can lead to mudslides and flooding. Location: Glassell Park Community and Senior Center 3750 Verdugo Rd. 90065. For more info:


Saturday, Nov. 7 

9am-3pm—Too Toxic to Trash: Free LA County Hazardous & E-Waste Roundup atEast Los Angeles College in he Stadium Parking Lot: Bleakwood Ave. & Floral Drivew in Monterey Park. Safely discard household hazardous waste: antifreeze, unused medications, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, hypodermic, pen & intravenous needles, syringes, lancets, household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and e-waste such as TVs, monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or

10-2pm—Day of the Dead Celebration/Carnival at STEM Academy of Boyle Heights. The free event features community and student altars, free parent workshops. Location: 456 Mathews St C-Building 90033 (entrance Mott St. and 6th St.). For more info: (323) 268-1031.

10am—March for Peace in Lincoln Heights Sponsored by Soledad Enrichment Action & the Neighborhood Peace Advisory Council. March will be followed by a resource fair and open house.  Entertainment by Mariachi Azteca, DJ Drastik, Raul and Roberto musical duet and more. Location: Meet at the corner of Griffin Avenue and North Broadway.

4-7pm—Commerce Citadel Outlets. 14th Annual Tree Lighting Concert. Celebrate the lighting of  over 18,000 bulbs of  the World’s Tallest Live-Cut Tree. Special guest actor & TV personality Mario Lopez. Citadel is located at100 Citadel Drive, Commerce 90040. For more info.  Visit


Sunday, Nov. 8

1-4pm—10th Annual Northeast Los Angeles Veterans Day Parade. The parade honors America’s veterans for their and dedicated service. Meet at Fire Station #55: 4455 York Blvd. Parade will be followed by an award ceremony and entertainment at Post 276, 2109 Merton Ave.

2pm—Rio Hondo Symphony Presents  “Invitation to Dance,” a Free Concert at Whittier High School Vic Lopez Auditorium. Enjoy great dance-themed classical music by some of LA County’s top musicians. Bring the entire family. Concert starts at 3pm/Kids Corner opens at 2:15pm. School is located at 12417 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier 90601. Free parking/shuttle on Comstock. For more information, call (562) 698-8626.


Wednesday, Nov. 11 –Veterans’ Day

3:30-5:30pm—Veteran’s Day Craft Workshop at Bell Gardens Veteran’s Park. Celebrate the brave men and women who served our country. Register at the game room free of charge, ages 5-14. Veterans Park Game Rm: 6662 Loveland St. Bell Gardens, 90201.

10am—Veterans Resource Fair in Commerce. Fair is part of the city’s Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. Event is free & open to the public. Nonprofits and government agencies offering free programs and services to veterans will attend. Bus shuttle service will be provided to and from each of the city’s parks. Park is located at 6364 Zindell Ave. Commerce 90040. For more info, contact Tina Fierro at (323) 722-405 ex. 2225.



7th Annual Taste of East L.A. Nov. 13 at Kennedy Hall. Sponsored by the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature great food & refreshments from eastside restaurants; live entertainment and much more. Tickets are $15 in advance/$20 at the door. Kennedy Hally is located at 451 S. Atlantic Blvd, LA 90022. For more info, email eddie.torres@att,net or call (323) 578-0513.

Advertise your event in EGP’s print and online Community Calendar for one low price. For more information, email or call (323) 341-7970. To submit an event to the Community Calendar, e-mail by 5 p.m. Friday for the next Thursday issue. Space is limited.


Monumento Honra a Veteranos en El Sereno

February 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Un nuevo monumento en honor a los veteranos de $100.000 se inauguró el lunes en el corazón de El Sereno durante el Día de los Presidentes.

El asta esta dedicado al veterano de la Marina y recipiente de la Cruz de la Naval durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial Guy Gabaldón, un nativo del este de Los Ángeles.

Los logros heroicos de Gabaldón durante la batalla de Saipan fueron la crónica en la película “El infierno hacia la Eternidad”.

El monumento cuenta con un diseño circular que se centra en una bandera estadounidense que se ilumina por la noche; una base para la bandera con cinco sellos que representan las cinco ramas de las fuerzas armadas; bancos rojos en lados opuestos de la parte exterior del círculo y con las palabras El Sereno Veterans Memorial.

“Al honrar a grandes presidentes de Estados Unidos como Washington y Lincoln, hombres cuya visión y resolución guiaron nuestro país a través de los conflictos que llegaron a definir los valores que apreciamos como estadounidenses, no puedo pensar en ningún otro tributo para honrar a los veteranos que hicieron esa visión posible “, dijo el concejal José Huizar.

El monumento se encuentra en una mediana en Huntington Drive North, cerca de Van Horne Ave.



A new $100,000 veteran’s monument in the heart of El Sereno was celebrated on President’s Day Monday.

The monument-flagpole is dedicated to World War II Marine veteran and Navy Cross recipient Guy Gabaldon, an eastside native.

Gabaldon’s heroic accomplishments during the battle of Saipan were chronicled in the movie “Hell to Eternty.”

The monument features a circular design that centers on an American flag that will be lit at night; a base for the flag with five seals representing the five branches of the military; red benches on opposite sides of the outside of the circle and raised lettering spelling out El Sereno Veterans Memorial.


“As we honor great U.S. Presidents like Washington and Lincoln, men whose vision and resolve guided our country through conflicts that came to define the values we hold dear as Americans, I can think of no greater tribute than to honor the Veterans who made that vision possible,” said Councilmember Huizar.

The monument is located on a large median on Huntington Drive North, near Van Horne Ave.

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