Every November, our country honors the veterans of our armed services — men and women whose devotion to duty has made possible the freedoms we enjoy.
November 11 was originally observed as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I, when the guns fell silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Since 1954, we have observed the occasion as Veterans Day, honoring all the men and women of our armed services.
For many years, it has been my privilege to lead the City Council’s Salute to Veterans. I initiated a tradition of the Councilmembers naming a Veteran of the Year in each district, recognizing one individual as a representative of the many whose contribution to our community has extended beyond their service in our country’s uniform.
This year I selected Carlos Pajuelo as our Council District 2 Veteran of the Year. Born in Peru, Carlos immigrated as a young man and was drafted into the United States Army in 1967. He was sent to Vietnam where he participated in the defense of Pleiku Air Base. He was a founder of the Valley Glen Neighborhood Council, and he has been active in making Valley Glen a stronger community since its official designation in 1982.
Carlos and countless other veterans of our armed services continue to serve their communities in civilian life as they served our country in their military service. Our way of life and our very existence as a free nation would be impossible without the service and the sacrifice of these fine Americans and so many others like them, and our communities are enriched immeasurably by their continuing public service.
At a time when too many Americans focus only on what divides us, the example of these veterans reaffirms the importance of what we share and have in common. Their ability to set aside personal interest for the common good demonstrates the extraordinary potential of ordinary Americans. Their sacrifice and devotion to service in the defense of freedom is a reminder of the blessings we enjoy, and the cost we must bear, as citizens of the last best hope of earth.