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Imperial Valley celebrates Veterans Day

KYMA

A special ceremony at the site of the Vietnam wall replica - News 11's Wiley Jawhary reports

EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - A very special ceremony at Bucklin Park today to honor Veterans Day included many speeches and even tears.

Many residents came by to pay their respects. One thing that was extra special is during the ceremony is the names on the wall were read.

To add to the emotion, 33 of the names on the Vietnam wall were from the Imperial Valley and served in the Vietnam war.

Matthew Suamataia is an Imperial Valley resident. He told us his uncle's name is on that wall.

“And then my uncle he gave the greatest sacrifice for our family and our rights in the Vietnam war,” he said.

Sumataia was taken aback when he found his uncle's name on that wall. 

“My little brother was named after his uncle who sacrificed his life,” he said.

Some celebrate, but others find it difficult, especially those veterans who served in Vietnam.

“It’s a bittersweet thing, I have combat buddies on the wall and, it's meaningful to remember but sometimes it can be difficult," Vietnam war Navy Veteran, Glen Nester said.

While other veterans recall almost taking their own lives after duty.

Ernie Mariscal is from Brawley. He did 21 years of service in the U.S. Army in Iraq. He says after his service, he felt alone.

“Not knowing how to transition really put a lot of pressure on me and eventually it came to a point where you know what, I can't do this and I don’t know how to do it,” he said.

But Mariscal says he realized, we have a lot to show gratitude for.

“Give thanks every day, be grateful and be glad we live in a country that’s free,” he said.

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Wiley Jawhary

Wiley Jawhary is from Orange County California. He joined KYMA/KSWT in April of 2021.

Reach out to Wiley with story ideas and tips at wiley.jawhary@kecytv.com.

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