Veterans Day 2013: American Legion Post 41 honors Hispanic veterans

PHOENIX - This Veterans Day, some vets are not just celebrating their service, they are celebrating their culture.

American Legion Post 41 was established in 1946 by a small group of Mexican-American Veterans who returned home from war only to face discrimination.

"It was a bold move," said current Commander Richard Lucero who is also a Korean War Vet. "They wanted to bond with each other but they were not allowed in to other posts. Actually when they built this post, they were mad."

The post at 715 S. 2nd Avenue in Phoenix is not solely for Mexicans explained Lucero, but it does celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by Mexican and Mexican-Americans throughout history.

"There was a time when serving in the military would guarantee citizenship," said Lucero.  "Once they were in the service they were proud and honorable."

At any given time the post is a meeting place where veterans of all wars join together.

Zeke Chavez served in the Korean War and Rudy Vasquez served in both Korea and World War II.

"The president said 'no discrimination in the military but that didn't apply to the home front," said Vasquez.   He said he experience racism before and after serving but not during his time in the Navy.

Lucero said newer generations of veterans are less aware that the post or the American Legion as a whole is even around.  

He said they are focusing on trying to reach out to returning veterans to help them in transitioning back to civilian life and finding jobs.

Visit the American Legion Post 41 website for more information.

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