tv Comunidad del Valle NBC July 8, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
i present to you air force veteran from the vietnam war, michael salas. thank you, mike. >> this memorial day's p.o.w./m.i.a. missing warriors ceremony is dedicated in commemoration of american he heroism in celebration of our nation's courage in remembrance of all of those captured or lost. and to the 142 americans, the sons of san jose, who registered for the armed forces of america in our great city. never to return home from the vietnam war. a place we called 'nam. the p.o.w./m.i.a. missing warriors table is reserved in memory and in honor of our missing comrades and loved ones, both men and women classified as our p.o.w. and m.i.a. the prisoners of war and missing
in action of all wars. ordinary men and women who faced an extraordinary call. they are not and will not ever be forgotten. they are the veterans of the land, the air and the sea who gave up their tomorrows for our tod todays. our guardians of freedom. our nation's sword and shield. in a spirit of love, hope and remembrance, let us embrace their spiritual remembrance. [ bell ringing ] >> there were once young men and women who converted from school books to helmets, from sneakers to combat boots, when war shadowed our country and freedom was threatened, men and women rolled up their sleeves and answered the call. from gi joe to rosie the riveter, when our country was in need, no one stood at ease. from the tractor and plow, to jump boots and parachutes, from the great depression's threat to
m-1s and bayonets. from our farmlands and cities to foreign lands to jungles in the east, to crossing the line in desert sands and patrolling the devastating roads of iraq and afghanistan. young american warriors pressing forward for freedom for her majesty, for family, for old glory, one nation, under god, with liberty and justice for all. men and women across our grate nation stood up, left our homes and valiantly marched forward. and back home, back home, a veteran's guardian angel remains on eternal watch. god sent and responsible for our existence, the one who would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. and what sets her apart is the power of love. embraced within the cradle of our heart. she's an unsung hero who stayed at home. the one who had to spend christmas alone. a hug and a kiss good-bye and
then you had to part. you left them with an ache and a pain in their heart. a blue star banner hangs on the window of a place you called home, a mother, a mother or wife weeps in prayer. she prays on her knees that the blue star doesn't turn to gold and have to live the rest of her life in despair. she reads from the good book at night, by the glow of a dim lit light. and she asks, somewhere over there tonight, we might have thoughts of home. would you just give him my blessing and let him know, he's not out there alone. then she weeps into sleep and she dreams. in her dream, she cry, she gave her country a son and in return received the stars and stripes when the eulogy was done. the mystical sound of taps exoed in the night when all was still. she listened to the lone bugler play and felt a sudden chill.
startled, trembling and frightened, she awakens. she puts pen to paper and writes a letter to her loved one in a far away land. always dreading a telegram from the western union man. feeling lonely and blue, her eyes tire and well as a lonely teardrop fell. where she wrote, p.s., i love you. she grieves throughout the months and years. with heartache and pain. tired, stressed and depressed, challenged by the test of time, waiting for the day that her son, her daughter or husband, comes home to stay. tell her that life will still go on. show her, lord that all this darkness will be followed by the dawn. [ bell ringing ] >> at this very moment, some are entering the unknown,
experiencing their very first engagement of war. their baptism of hailing fire in the perils of hell, and the valley of death. afghanistan war veteran, congressional medal of hongor recipient, army staff sergeant salvatore regenta categorized his service the best, by saying there were more bullets in the air than stars in the sky. for those who fought for it and are going to fight for it freedom has a taste the protected will never know. as greater love has no man than to lay down their life. for he today, that sheds his blood for me, shall be my brother. we will conclude this very special ceremony when we continue here on "communidad del valle." [ mom ] to me, chex is not just a little bowl of cereal,
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the american gi, known but to god with dignity and reverence is a patriot. a hero and humanitarian around the world. he is the valiant one who defended the constitution of the united states of america during our finest hour. mission-driven and a true inspiration to all who seek their right to the pursuit of happiness. soldier, sailor, airman, coast guard and marine, from all across the land from every race and every creed, living an unparalleled saga of courage, valor and gal antry, stand alone as one they did, stand alone as one, no more. in the spirit of love, hope and remembrance, protect them, lord as they protect us until the day they all come home. [ bell ringing ] the p.o.w./m.i.a. table is set for five.
representing our missing comrades from the five armed forces of the united states of america. the united states army, the united states marine corps, the united states navy, the united states air force, and the united states coast guard. and in remembrance of those young lives and loves captured, missing or killed the cry of their spirits continues to be heard, harboring their rages, deprived of their precious freedom, locked up in wire, bamboo and concrete cages. oppressed by the enemy in the darkness of doom, never to surrender, and a passion to live, spiritually driven by the rojos, blanco, and azul, the red, white and blue.
[ bell ringing ] the p.o.w./m.i.a. missing warriors table has many symbols. the table is round, symbolizing our everlasting concern for our missing comrades, the tablecloth is white. symbolizing the purity of their motives in answering their country's call to arms, so that children could remain free and be given a chance. the single red rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends, who continue the faith awaiting answers and continue the faith awaiting their return home. the vase is tied with a red ribbon. symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. a slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the
bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. a pinch of salt, symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who wait and seek answers. the glasses are inverted, to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. the bible symbolizes the spiritual strength gained through faith to sustain those lost if our country, founded as one nation under god. the candle, the lone candle is the eternal light of hope, which lives in our hearts and symbolizes the frailty of a prisoner alone, trying to stand up against his oppressors. the napkins, the napkins are black, symbolizing oppression by the enemy in the darkness of doom, they are formed in a triangular fold epitomizing highest honor to one's life, god, country and family.
and last, the chairs. the five chairs are empty. young lives barely lived, young loves barely loved. let their hallowed memory forever burn bright, for they are the caliber by which our great nation is remembered. remember their bravery, appreciate their courage and thank god that they lived. and if tears could build a stairway and memory as lane, we would walk up to heaven, change their fate and bring them all home again. [ bell ringing ] and now, in memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,
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. we're back with mike salas on "communidad del valle," with the missing warriors remembrance ceremony. mike i've seen you several times perform this special ceremony. and only once before did you get a little choked up. here you kind of did it a little bit again. i would be bawling if i had to read all of that. how do you imagine to get through all of that? >> in the beginning it was very difficult to get through. it's, you know, it's put together with personal experience. veterans experiences and my last visions of my mother, when i left home in 1966. but tough, tough. everything in there is factual and again, there's stories of veterans and i'm sure there's stories of every veteran that's out there. we have something similar and one thing we do have, in common is that brotherhood of giving back and leaving something for those that aren't here with us
today. but those that are especially those today that are in afghanistan and iraq. the young troops that will be coming home soon. >> thank you for serving and welcome home. >> thank you, dan. >> we had the option of playing taps, a recorded version of taps and you said to yourself, that's not how we do things. you brought bob alvarado who is a very talented and popular musician in the south bay, you brought him over to do this for us. >> absolutely. we don't settle for anything less than a real live horn player. bob alvarado is a real trouper and stepped in and this is his way of giving back to the veterans. it all comes under the definition of being something spiritual and yet in the lyrical, rhythmical expression of gratitude for our soldiers and everybody globally, around the world. >> give me the symbolism of the lit candle, if you will. >> it represents the eternal
light of all those in the hopes that they are still there. you know, there's no guarantee today, but we certainly know that it's possible that we have many p.o.w.s out there and m.i.a.s that are still alive and that'sed hope. >> that's beautiful. i asked you once before, casually, i said mike, can i get a copy of the words to your beautiful presentation. and you said no. and that, that tells me to, to how much of a loft you hold those words that are near and dear to you. you have it now. i want to you share it. i treasured it, i kept it personal for a long time. but i was, i was very happy and honored to share it at several events. in the past and it's always been well-accepted and embraced. now it's time, i do want to
share it with everybody and get it out there. it's only my version, there's many versions, but this is the one i want to share. >> yeah. you are, this is of course the memorial day weekend. you are a veteran of the united states air force. tell us about your pride in serving your country. >> i was in from 1966 to 1970. i couldn't more honored to serve my country and establish the brotherhood with my friends that i currently am in touch with today, i'm very fortunate. the bottom line is the reason why we, we come home safe and alive is because of that fellow next to you. it's instilled in you to take care of that person and he'll take care of you and hopefully you'll both come home safe. >> how long did it take to you hear the words, "welcome home." >> it took me quite a while to really understand what was going on here after returning from a
foreign land. welcome home, to tell you the truth, damon, i'm just starting to hear it. >> isn't that something? >> yeah. >> same story, i took my father in law, we went to visit the vietnam memorial in washington, d.c., first time he heard it. >> first time. >> how shameful is that that we as a country, as a society, no the that we didn't appreciate your service, but that it took us this long to appreciate the sacrifices that you and your family made. >> yeah, yeah. i can't define it, i know there's a lot of politics involved. but on a personal basis, it, i'm, i my father was a veteran in world war ii, a paratrooper, i come from a veteran, my wife's side of the family are veterans, marine corps, so i'm surrounded by veterans. but we all, we get together and we realize that the thanks isn't
there. the recognition isn't there, totally, you know. so but we keep, we keep flying our colors, we keep marching forward, we're not going to give up. we're going to get the word out there. and just not let people forget. that's what the ceremony is all b. i tell you briefly about the bell, the spiritual bell. it was found in the rubble. at a flea market, i brought it home, i embraced it. i called a nephew of mine, mr. ken galloway, who is a retired carpenter, who is suffering from agent orange and arthritis. he can barely move his hands, but i asked him to put this together for me. i told him what it was going to be used for. without hesitation, he put this beautiful ceremonial spiritual bell together. >> yeah, the white house needs to see what you're doing here in arlington cemetery. it's very, it's very, very moving. i had a hard time behind the cameras trying to get through your ceremony.
you're also spearledding a special program, if you will, to help bring a memorial here to san jose, and it's on its way. >> as a matter of fact, in about an hour and a half i have a meeting with the council in the city of san jose. we're, the san jose vietnam war memorial foundation and we are very, very close now to breaking ground in the city of san jose. and erecting the monument that's going to honor the 142 american men that registered for the armed forces here in our city and died on vietnam soil. and there are 142 of them, 43% of latinos, but all ethnic groups are represented. all of the armed forces are represented. and we're, we're getting, going to get the job done. there's a small group of us, five. but we represent many of the veterans organizations, which is all the veteran organizations in the valley. they are supporting us and we're going to get it done.
we're very close. >> good luck. you're flying the colors of the american gi form. that obviously organization instrumental in getting latino veterans the rights and the services that are due to them. >> yes, absolutely. many of those kids, you kale them kids, many of those men are high school buddies that never came home. and we just, you know, it's just on and on, we have so many fine points to, to justify the fact that it's long overdue, we want this monument and it's going to fly. and the flag is there and of course the american flag, the p.o.w. flag, the city and state flag. we couldn't be honored more than that. and of course, the hats, we wear many hats, many colored hats. i'm committed to the american gi form, have been for a long time. my father was an american gi form member back in the '60s
when it was first coming to town here. the history behind it, the civil rights issue behind it, many, many years ago, is just one of those organizations that you, you, it's great. it's a great organization, nationally and locally. i can't say enough about the members, as well as what it represents. >> all right. thank you so much. if you want to know more about the memorial that mike is working on, there's the website, sjwarmemorial.com. find out about their efforts and how close it is to being erected in san jose. any final thoughts? any message to the viewers out there? >> memorial day is this weekend. please go out, support your veterans. go to the memorials, there will be many celebrations over the weekend. just remember, when you're at those parties and those barbeques, remember us.
our saludos to those celebrating a special day. ♪ ♪ here's our next week, drop an email, also pick up a copy of the newspaper and support your bilinguals daily all across the bay area. we appreciate you sharing part of your sunday with us. next week, assembly member nora campos, happy memorial day weekend. ♪ ♪
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