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Video: Across the nation, Latino communities band together to honor their loved ones killed in military service

LatinaLista — According to U.S. Census tallies, there were 1.2 million Latino veterans serving active duty in 2011. The number is anticipated to increase once immigration reform/DREAM Act are passed and more young people will be able to realize their dreams of serving in the U.S. military.

It’s a dream that has been fulfilled by many generations of Latinos since the American Revolution. Unfortunately, as will all soldiers, there are always some who never make it back home alive. Over the years, the families of these soldiers lost in war have worked in their local communities to build public memorials honoring the service of their loved ones.

The struggle to build more memorials continues to this day.

From San Antonio and Buffalo to Wisconsin and Minnesota, Latino communities are banding together to honor the military service of local Latinos so no one forgets their sacrifice and the sacrifice their families made for their country.

Another state working on expanding recognition of their Latino veterans is California. In 1951, The Society of Mexican Mothers raised money to create “El Soldado” (The Soldier) to honor those California Latino veterans who didn’t come home from World War II. Eventually, El Soldado was donated to the State of California with the understanding that it would become an official and permanent state memorial. However, time passed and El Soldado soon became known as the ‘Homeless Soldier’ since it stood by itself at the State Capitol, beaten by the elements. So, a new campaign is underway called the Mexican American Veterans’ Memorial Beautification and Enhancement Committee.

In 2007, the State Legislature created the Mexican American Veterans’ Memorial Beautification and Enhancement Committee to beautify and enhance the existing memorial, and to secure private funding to complete the project.

The project’s intent is to not only honor all those California Latino veterans who died in WWII but in all the wars since then — in a place where Where past and future heroes meet.

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  • DaliRivera
    November 12, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I am very happy to hear that such a monument exists. I have become very involved in researching information about our nation’s Latino(a) veteran service members and there is little out there that shows the public that we have always been part of American Wars (particularly Latina Veterans).
    Is it just me or will the following “Mexican American Veterans Memorial Committee” can be misleading or can become confusing to non-Latinos who aren’t aware that not all Latinos are from Mexican descent? It could also will lead some people to believe the memorial is for Mexican Americans only.
    As  a former native Nicaraguan service member who served in the U.S. Army, I always had to clarify to people that I was not Mexican. People just assumed because of the color of my skin, the fact that I speak Spanish and especially when I told people I was raised in California that I was Mexican (or Puerto Rican).

  • Latino Communities Band Together to Honor their Loved ones Killed in Military Service « You Are Strong! Center on Veterans Health and Human Services
    January 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    […] On January 14, 2013   /   National Hispanic Veterans Advocacy Network (NHVAN), NHVAN and Latina Lista National Editorial Initiative, Xiomara A. Sosa   /   Leave a comment […]

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