El Monte’s Annual Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Fallen Soldiers
by Valerie Martinez
June 4, 2014 • 260 views
The City of El Monte hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 26 to honor the men, women and families of those who served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedom.
“Today we honor the men and women who sacrificed it all so we can continue enjoying the best our country has to offer,” said Councilman Juventino “J” Gomez, a disabled American Veteran who served in the United States Army from August 1965 to November 1967. “We remember the families who will never see their loved ones again and pledge to continue to stand beside them. We send prayers to those still missing in action or who have become prisoners of war that they remain strong and never give up hope. Our community stands by all who serve.”
The event featured keynote remarks by US Army Sergeant Joe Leal, founder of Vet Hunters. In his remarks, Sergeant Leal paid tribute to comrades killed while serving together on active duty and reminding the audience to take care of returning Veterans by providing mental health and homeless-prevention programs.
At the event, the El Monte City Council gave remarks and presented a Memorial Day wreath, an El Monte tradition. The ceremony included a tribute to POWs and MIAs, a 21-Gun Salute and a performance of “Taps” played by Matt Weintraub, an El Monte Police Department Reserve Sergeant.
“We come together as a community this Memorial Day to honor those who paid the ultimate price,” said Mayor Andre Quintero. “I’m grateful that this city continues to honor the fallen and remembers the Veterans who live in our community.”
The City was also recognized during the ceremony for efforts to support our nation’s Veterans, including building the El Monte Veterans Village, a $12 million, 40-unit comprehensive affordable housing development specifically for veterans. The Veterans Village, the first of its kind in the San Gabriel Valley, celebrated its grand opening in March 2014.
“Our community is committed to taking care of our Veterans and we are so proud that El Monte has taken the leadership through the Veterans Village to fight homelessness among our returning soldiers,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bart Patel. “This Memorial Day we also honor the memory of those who lost their lives fighting a brave fight, and their families who have scarified so much.”