Congressman Jimmy Gómez says he plans to introduce legislation to rename the Boyle Heights post office in memory of a local World War II hero whose remains were returned to his family earlier this year.
Gómez made the announcement this month at the Veterans Day ceremony in Cinco Puntos. The move is intended to honor the memory of Private Jacob Cruz, a Boyle Heights resident and Marine who lost his life in the Battle of Tarawa, on Nov. 22, 1943. He was only 18.
Private Cruz’s remains and those of others lost in the battle were buried in shallow, temporary graves, but their locations were eventually forgotten. Cruz’s remains were declared “unrecoverable” by the Army in 1949, but in April of 2020 the soldier’s family was notified that the remains had been found and identified and that they would be returned to Los Angeles for burial.
The remains were returned in March and Cruz was finally buried at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, on what the Los Angeles Times said would have been his 96th birthday.
Plans are now to give his name to the U.S. Postal Service branch on First St. near Cummings.
“I feel proud to be able to do it. I feel humbled,” Gómez told ABC7. “The reason why is that it really does acknowledge that the Boyle Heights community has had a long history of sending boys to fight in our armed services.”
Gomez said if his legislation moves forward, the post office designation could happen as early as next year.