On a drizzely morning on Veterans Day the United Brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans conducted a Native American Blessing Ceremony at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The mother of Johnny Cruz placed a Wreath at the memorial with the above named veterans attached. Other wreaths were layed and the colors posted by the ROTC Honor Guard from Mc Clatchy High School, supported by colors from Travis Air Force Base and Air Force Honor Guard. The Star Spangled Banner was led by students from various high schools in Sacramento. Benediction was given by a WWII veteran nurse.
At the conclusion a
21 gun salute was by the Honor Guard from VFW Post 85 and taps
played by the Travis Air Force band.
A picture of Johnny
Cruz and Lupe Lopez(my commadres brother) was placed on the memorial
wall along with the names of the above. I knew Johnny and Joe
Santos in High School. We went to the dance at the old Mexican
Center. I didn't know that Johnny was killed in Vietnam until
I got out of the service in 1971. I put a flag on Johnny's, lupe,
Joe and Eddie Butler graves since they are all buried at St Mary's
Ceremetary in Sacramento. My group has conducted a Native American
Blessing ceremony every Veterans and Memorial Day for the last
10 years. Your brother and the above fallen veterans are always
mentioned at these ceremonies. We do these things early in the
morning as not wanting to attract the news media. We do these
things in a humble way to honor our gentle heroes who have given
their all for this great country of ours. And there memories and
deeds will not be forgotten. I've gathered a colage of copies
of pictures and letters that Johnny and Lupe wrote before their
deaths, I take them to veterans functions and to the State Fair,
so that people too can put a face to a name that is edged out
on the stone garden.
On February 13, 1999 the United Brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans will conduct a memorial service at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commemorating the 10th Anniversary, which B.T. Collins was so instrumental in getting the memorial built. Family members of Johnny Cruz, Lupe Lopez, Manual Gomez Gutierrez and Ricardo Moreno will conduct the wreath laying. The name of ROY BENAVIDOS will be added to the list and his name will said at the HONOR ROLL CALL. Concluded with 21 gun salute and taps. God Bless America.