South Chicago church honors 12 fallen Vietnam War Mexican-American veterans for Memorial Day

CHCIAGO (WLS) -- A South Chicago community is honoring their own this Memorial Day weekend.

Dozens came together Sunday to pay tribute to 12 Mexican-American veterans who died while fighting for the U.S. in Vietnam War.

Where 91st Street and Brandon Avenue meet in South Chicago was a festive tune, ringing from what's called "Freedom Corner."

Many paid homage to the community's Mexican roots as they gathered a day before Memorial Day.

"Every year, we come and we pay tribute and honor them," said Gloria Chavez-Gomez, relative of fallen veteran Antonio Chavez.

Those fallen heroes were members of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" parish and died in combat in the Vietnam War.

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A mural with their faces draped over the celebration as their family also showed up to pay their respects.

"It was horrible, but you know what? He fought for our country. He was an awesome person from what we know," said Deborah Rivera, relative of fallen Veteran Joseph Quiroz.

Our Lady of Guadalupe parish is the first Mexican-American Catholic Church in the City of Chicago, and with the ultimate sacrifice these twelve soldiers made in the Vietnam War, it gives the parish another title.

"Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish lost more men in Vietnam than any other parish in the United States," said Nancy Andrade, commissioner for the City Commission on Human Relations.

While the title is marked with the pain that war brings, it's also a testament of the bravery that was bred right in this very community.

"All of these things are symbols that are very significant to all of us, especially those who have lost family members," Chavez-Gomez added.
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