New Logan Heights Veterans Memorial dedicated in Chicano Park

Groundbreaking for memorial took place in 2008

SAN DIEGO - After more than four and a half years of waiting, a new veterans memorial was dedicated Saturday at Chicano Park.

The Logan Heights Veterans Memorial has the insignias of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, along with the National Guard, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

Written at the base of the memorial are the words, "Honor them by remembering."

"Taps," the National Anthem and a 21-gun salute were the sounds and sights of a special dedication.

Adam Gastelum, who served in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, was one of a number of Latino veterans who have worked for years to bring the memorial to reality.

Like so many of his fellow veterans, when he spoke of his service to his country, it was with humility.

"I just did my duty," he told 10News. "I was no hero or anything ... I just did my duty as a young man."

Groundbreaking for the memorial was held in November of 2008. It was delayed for years while the veterans working to bring it to Chicano Park waited for approval from the city. That finally came in February.

There was a sense of urgency because veterans from the World War II era are dying by the thousands every day.

Mentor Tejano Relara, who attended Saturday's dedication, served in World War II and was shot nine times, including twice in the head.

San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez singled him out for special recognition.

"He is 105 years old and he's with us today," Alvarez said.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was at the dedication as well, speaking about how remarkable the service of Latinos has been to the country in the face of discrimination.

"The patriotism that is represented here and the faith in our nation would not be expected from people who are discriminated against by that very nation," Filner said.

The entire $28,000 cost for the memorial was raised through donations.

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