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Veterans Day gathering held in Boyle Heights for Mexican-Americans killed in war

Veterans Day ceremony in Boyle Heights
Veterans Day ceremony in Boyle Heights
Shirley Jahad/KPCC

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About 100 people gathered in Boyle Heights and marked Veterans Day at the site of a monument to Mexican-American soldiers who lost their lives in war.

Iraq war veteran Army Specialist Veronica Martinez gave the keynote address. She talked about the particular challenges female veterans face, and she talked about the contributions of Latino veterans.

“I am a new generation of Hispanic veteran that will not be discriminated or looked down upon because of the color of my skin or because of my features," she says. She also thanked the veterans at the event. "These proud Hispanic veterans sitting in front of me took ownership of their rights. I could not be here where I am today if it wasn’t for them.”

She says that veterans' experiences stay with them years later. "Five years after serving in Iraq, I can still feel the 105 degree heat on my skin."

Martinez urged people to thank and remember veterans at all times. She says "supporting out troops" means ensuring veterans have the job security and the medical attention they need.

Congress woman Lucille Roybal Allard also spoke, saying "the tributes we pay to veterans should go beyond words."

At exactly 11 minutes after 11 this morning, the veterans released 11 doves into the air, then had a moment of silence. The St. Alphonsus school choir performed as well.

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar also attended the event.