Media Advisory
  October 29, 2002
To: City Desks, Assignment Desks, Education Reporters
Subject: Annual Veterans Day Ceremony, Los Angeles Mission College
Date/Time: Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 10-11 a.m.
Place: Campus Quad - Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar


Los Angeles Mission College will honor a local hero when it holds its annual Veterans Day ceremony on November 7. Private First Class David M. Gonzales, the first Los Angeles County resident to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II, will be remembered for heroic actions that saved the lives of five companions in the Philippines. Gonzales, a Pacoima resident, was fatally wounded while digging out his comrades, who had been buried alive when a bomb struck their camp. Gonzales was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in 1945.

Keynote speakers will be Gonzales’ son, David Junior, and David Junior’s wife, Beatrice. The two will describe their efforts to correct an error they say has caused the family much emotional pain. A photo of a soldier who is not Gonzales, but is identified as that of the medal winner, has been erroneously displayed in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes for the last 50 years. Consequently, this mistake has been replicated over the years in other shrines, veterans’ publications and Web sites. Representative Howard Berman, who has assisted the family in its efforts to correct the mistake, will also speak. He is expected to present to the family medals that were awarded to Gonzales, but which have never been delivered.

The ceremony also will feature presentations by JROTC units from Kennedy and Monroe high schools, the All Veterans Burial Squad of San Fernando and the Sylmar Elementary School chorus. The public is invited to attend.

Los Angeles Mission College holds a Veterans Day Ceremony annually to mark its close ties with veterans in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Each year, Mission College serves more than 400 veterans who come to the campus with questions about their benefits and about educational and career opportunities available to them.

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