Los Angeles Locals Pay Homage on Veterans Day

All across Southern California on Veterans Day there were celebrations honoring those who served, including ones in Long Beach, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley. In Westwood, about 100 people gathered at the Los Angeles National Cemetery to honor soldiers, both living and dead. Many brought with them powerful and emotional stories.

One of these people was Earlean Paige, who was wearing her late son's army uniform and a pair of flag earrings. She was there, much as she has done for many years, to honor the memory of her son and husband, who both served in the U.S. Army. She also has another son who served in the Air Force.

She told the Los Angeles Times: "Veterans deceased and living did a lot for us. It’s just an honor to be able to show that respect to them."

Also attending the ceremony at the 128-year-old cemetery, where almost 88,000 veterans and their families are buried, was Noboru Don Seki and his wife and daughter. The 94-year-old Seki fought during World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was a unit comprised of Japanese-Americans. He actually lied about his age so that he could enlist at 17, and he lost an arm in a battle in France, earning him a Purple Heart.

He came to "celebrate the memories of veterans deceased," he told the Times, while wearing the motto of his regiment — "Go for Broke" — on both his beret and shirt.

A short distance from the ceremony, another man was paying homage to veterans. His name was Ori Barasch, and he was visiting the gravesites of three men he never knew — something he's done on every Veterans Day and Memorial Day for the past 18 years. The deceased soldiers, like Barasch, are all Jewish.

"I just wanted to stop and say thanks," Barasch said, before relating how he started the visits after his son was born. He did so because "I wanted him to appreciate that his freedom and things he enjoys didn’t come for free."

It was a sentiment that was surely shared my many Los Angeles residents on Veterans Day.


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