Kevin de León may be conspicuously absent, but will not be forgotten, at Friday’s Veterans Day commemoration at Cinco Puntos – which will include separate activities by groups who differ on what should happen at that iconic point where Boyle Heights and East LA meet.
The councilmember, embroiled in the recent LA City Council controversy over racist comments in a leaked recorded conversation, is not among elected officials expected at the official ceremony to take place at 11 am at the Mexican American All Wars Memorial at Cinco Puntos (3300 East César Chávez Ave.).
According to a press release from the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) East Los Angeles Post organizing the ceremony, elected officials expected for the ceremony include congresspeople Lucille Roybal-Allard and Jimmy Gomez, State senator Maria Elena Durazo and assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo and Miguel Santiago.
At the same time, a group that opposes government plans to build a roundabout at Cinco Puntos, will gather to protest in front of Raúl Morín Square – across the street from the All Wars Memorial. Besides showing their opposition to the roundabout, members of the East Los Angeles Boyle Heights Coalition say they will call for de León’s resignation.
The coalition claims that construction of the roundabout, favored by de León, may result in some of the monuments at the historic site being destroyed or relocated. De León has denied that.
The official ceremony
Organizers of the official ceremony say the event will honor “patriots who have served honorably” in the armed forces. As in year past, VFW Post 1013 Commander Tony Zapata –who does not oppose the roundabout– will open the ceremony by announcing a helicopter flyover by the LAPD Air Support Squadron.
Navy veteran Stephanie Stone, Chief Deputy Director of Military of Affairs, will serve as the Master of Ceremony. Garfield High School JROTC will present colors and LAPD officer Chris Reza performs the national anthem. Father John Moretta of Resurrection Church is set to deliver an invocation.
The East Los Angeles Boyle Heights Coalition
Separately, members of the East Los Angeles Boyle Heights Coalition issued a statement saying they will gather to honor those who have served and their families while protesting the roundabout:
“We will stand with the Raul Morin family as we fight to preserve this sacred space dedicated to soldiers of Mexican descent who received Congressional Medals of Honor in WWII… As we honor our veterans and remember our fallen loved ones and pray for their eternal peace we will stand up to protect our sacred ground and denounce this anti Mexican hate crime.”
Morín was a decorated veteran and author of “Among the Valiant,” a book about Mexican Americans who served during WWII and the Korean War.
For decades, Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies have been held at the well-known five-point intersection of Lorena and Indiana Streets with East César Chávez Avenue. As part of tradition, the councilmember representing Boyle Heights has been at the ceremony, as was de León in 2021.