Leaders in Fresno, Calif., want to better honor the city’s military veterans

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Fresno Veterans Memorial Building.

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Fresno has a long tradition of honoring its veterans.

Our city is not only home to the California Veterans Home, an aged care facility for those who have bravely defended our nation, but also hosts the largest Veterans Day Parade west of the Mississippi River.

Yet, as Memorial Day approaches, a solemn holiday to remember the lives lost protecting our nation, its freedoms and its way of life, I believe the City of Fresno must do more to honor our commitments to its veterans. .

The first step is to establish and support the future Fresno Veterans Memorial District and provide much-needed investments in community assets that benefit all Fresno residents while honoring our veteran community.

First, a bit of history.

The Fresno men and women who helped liberate Europe and the South Pacific during World War II have returned home and established posts as veterans of foreign wars, using their common wartime ties to forge lasting relationships .

These posts were not only a place to commemorate the sacrifices made in battle, but to foster a sense of community for our veterans, their families and the community.

Seventy-one years after the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into WWII, our veterans posts are in disrepair, due to heavy use by local WWII veterans , Korea and Vietnam, as well as by the residents who lived in and around the communities.

These residents rely on VFW Posts for community meetings and events that bring neighborhoods together and keep them safe.

Likewise, Fresno’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium and Museum, a community gem built in the depths of the Great Depression, has fallen into such disrepair that it almost serves as an insult to those who served our country.

Meanwhile, while Fresno’s veterans sacrificed their lives in service to our country, many now find themselves in dire need of social services to ensure a long, healthy life in peace.

Our veterans deserve nothing less than the best, and I hope that we, as Fresnans – and more importantly, as Americans – will give them the investment they deserve. .

That’s why, along with my colleagues on the Fresno City Council, late last year, I began creating the Fresno Veterans Memorial District.

The goal of this neighborhood, much like a similar neighborhood in Clovis, is to invest in veteran-centric facilities.

It will also go further by connecting veterans – from those who served in World War II to those who have recently returned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – to veterans and essential social services to ensure their health and well-being. -be. long after leaving the service.

The starting point is to authorize the formation of the Fresno Veterans Memorial District and launch Measure V for your approval in November.

From there, we will begin to assess the condition of the various veteran community facilities in our city that are in dire need of short- and long-term improvements and investments.

The time has come and our veterans deserve our support. I hope you will join me in charting the right direction for the Fresno Veterans Memorial District and supporting the next Measure V.

Luis Chavez represents Southeast Fresno on the city council.

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Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA Fresno Bee File

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