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June 23, 2021

LULAC hosts 21st annual Veterans Day breakfast

As the 21st Annual Veteran’s Breakfast came to a close, servicemen took the mic to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
Cecilia Rodriguez rose to speak about her brother who had served in Vietnam then honored her husband, Frank, who still talks about his days in the Army. She remembered through tears the pain that the service cost her brother when he returned.
“He’s mentioned how he saw people die and he felt bad and he doesn’t know why he’s here,” said Rodriguez.
The San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens Council sponsored the special meal, which ran from 7 a.m. to noon and honored Sonora Vasquez, Cesar Flores and Larry Brown as Veterans of the Year.
“It was definitely an honor,” said Vasquez, who grew up in San Juan Bautista. “I’d been here a long time but I didn’t know they honored veterans in this fashion.”
Vasquez’s older sister joined the Air Force at the prompting of Flores. Vasquez later followed the path of her older sister.
The guest speakers included Jimmy Panetta, a Navy veteran who went on to become the assistant district attorney for Monterey County and Luis Alejo, the recently reelected 30th district assembly member.
Remembering service and giving a voice to those who gave their lives for the country was the focus of the morning. So was comradeship and a chance to connect with others who shared the experience of serving the country’s colors: red, white and blue. For Frank Rodriguez, the breakfast was a chance to wear Army green again.
“He was all excited about coming,” his wife said.
Frank had to look through some things to find appropriate clothes for the occasion.
“I just grabbed one of these from the garage,” Frank said. “I needed something Army and there it was.”
He served in the U.S. Army as a gunner from 1967-69 and spent time in Brafenwoeher, Germany.
“When the Berlin Wall fell, I felt good that day,” Frank said. “I never thought Communism was going to end but sure enough the Berlin Wall fell.”
Frank did not choose the Army – his country chose him through the draft. But as he sat among several dozen veterans in the San Benito High School cafeteria, he eagerly scanned the crowd for someone from his unit.
“It’s one of those things where you get drafted and you just accept it,” he said.
Check back soon for more photos and video from the event.

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