The coronavirus emergency did not deter Eastside veterans’ advocates from holding their annual Memorial Day commemoration at Cinco Puntos on Monday – nor did it stop area elected officials from making their annual trek to the All Wars monument at the five-corner intersection where Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles meet.
The trimmed-down, 73rd annual Memorial Day ceremony was less attended than in previous years –and did not include a traditional 24-hour vigil to precede it. It did include the participation of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wore his U.S. Navy Reserve uniform and cap and a face mask with the U.S. Navy as he addressed a small crowd.
“With each generation we see a warrior class that steps up,” Garcetti said at the event. “The soldiers, the marines, the sailors, air men and women, coast guard. Each one who says that I will put my body on the line to protect this nation.”
The mayor also used a popular Spanish-language dicho when speaking in that language: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quien eres,” which essentially refers to judging an individual by the company he or she keeps, alluding to solidarity among veterans. “These words are very powerful on this day,” he added in Spanish.
Among those attending –and Tweeting about the event– were Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solís and State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago:
Santiago thanked Vice Cmndr Tony Zapata from the Eastside Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 4696 and 1013, for organizing the annual ceremony.
Conspicuously absent this year was City Councilman José Huízar, who is being investigated in an FBI probe on City Hall corruption and who has been rarely seen at public events in recent weeks. That did not prevent Huízar from sending his own Tweet about the Cinco Puntos event.
The All Wars Monument at Cinco Puntos –the five-point intersection of Lorena and Indiana Streets with East César Chávez Avenue, on the border of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles –includes a monolith honoring the 350,000 Mexican American men and women who fought in World War II. This group has the highest percentage of Medal of Honor winners of any minority in the United States.
The memorial was originally named after Raúl Morín, a decorated veteran and author of “Among the Valiant,” a book about Mexican Americans who fought valiantly in World War II and the Korean War.