LOS ANGELES — Latino veterans of the Vietnam War gathered Thursday to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the cease-fire agreement that ended the conflict, which cost more than 58,000 American lives.
At the Mexican American War Memorial on Cesar Chavez Avenue, Ruben Treviso, of the American GI Forum, remembered how he went from being a tough local youth to fighting enemy soldiers in Vietnam. The battlefield taught him to seek and cherish peace, he said.
Thursday's ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans and remember those who died also was intended to inspire others to bring peace to their communities, Treviso said.
"Today's celebration is in honor of peace, to maintain peace. That is why I'm here," he said.
He and fellow veterans stood in formation and saluted the monument. A wreath was laid at its steps.
Sgt. Maj. Ramon Rodriguez, 55, a Medal of Honor nominee who served in Vietnam, said that barrio youths, especially, should consider the armed services.
"A lot of people stay in their same little barrio and they live and die there. That's the problem today with youths," Rodriguez said.
"They get too involved in guarding their blocks and don't get a chance to go out. [Military life] opens the horizons for you that you'll never learn while your staying in your neighborhood."