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  Veterans Parade Honors Greatest Generations

Jim Smith/ElHispano

Philadelphia – In August of 1864, United States Naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico were facing relatively new weaponry: floating mines, known then as Torpedoes.

   As a number of Union naval vessels retreated from the  explosives, Latino Admiral David Farragut blustered at such fears, saying, “Torpedoes. Damn the torpedoes. Four Bells, Captain Drayton, full speed ahead.”

    It was in remembrance of such gallantry and intrepid courage that the city of Philadelphia honored the Latino Veterans – soldiers, marines and naval officers- of Latin American Legion Post 840, and  Veterans from every service and war, Sunday, with the city’s first Veterans Day Parade.

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   Marching from South Broad Street, around City Hall and east on Market Street to Independence Hall, Veteran Wilfredo Gonzalez and Veteran Jose Rivera (USMC,Vietnam) and the rest of the Latin American Legion Post 840 and Ladies Auxiliary were followed by the Spanish-American Law Enforcement Association (SALEA),  as the premier groups marching in Sunday’s Veterans Parade.

   During ceremonies paying tribute to the history of Veterans, at Fifth and Market Streets, the recent Congressional Gold Medal recipient – Puerto Rico’s 65th Infantry Regiment , “Borinqueneers” – were recognized by Judge Pat Duggan, along with Tuskegee Airmen, and survivors of the Battles of the Bulge and Iwo Jima.

  The first-ever Veterans Parade was largely the result of the collaborative efforts of Scott Brown Director of the city Veterans Advisory Commission, First District Congressman Bob Brady and his aide Veteran (USMC) George Perez, Lt. Gov. Stack and his Special Assistant Juvencio Gonzalez – Vet (USMC), Philanthropist and Veteran Gerry Lenfest, City Council Pres. Darrell Clarke and Mayor Nutter.

    As participants in the Veterans Parade, the historic setting of Philadelphia evoked a sense of “honor” for a pair of West Point Cadets – future officers in the U.S. Army- Brandon Latteri and Giovani Perez Ortega, who spoke with El Hispano.  

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   In addition, Neil Sheehan, a former Vietnam War correspondent recently released a collection of photos of what he called the “bloody dawn” of that war.

     While discussing U.S. Army and Marine fighting in Nov., 15 of 1965, he bristled at the notion that the term “greatest generation” is reserved for those who fought in WWII. The men and women who “fought in Vietnam,” Sheehan said, “were as great as any generation that preceded them.  Their misfortune was to be drawn into a bad war.”

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