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A 1953 Classic L.A. Patrol Car at the auto show part of the 8th Annual Veterans Car Show and Resource Fair at Rose Hills Sky Chapel. Forty-four veteran specific businesses were present at the event focusing on veterans families and the veterans. Photo by Tammye McDuff.

By Tammye McDuff

Vietnam veteran Jose Ramos, an Army combat medic who cycled his way across the country and rubbed elbows with politicians and royalty on behalf of fellow veterans was the founder of the ‘Welcome Home Viet Nam Veterans Day’.

Although Ramos has since passed away, the City of Whittier proudly carries on this tradition.

The 8th Annual Veterans Car Show and Resource Fair was held Sunday, March 18th at Rose Hills Sky Chapel.

The focus of this year’s event was not only on veterans, but their families.

The event hosted 44 businesses specific to veterans, from the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Museum of History to ‘Run for the Wall’ sign-up sheets to Big Johns Military Surplus.

Sylvia Ramos, widow of Jose, has tirelessly continued to work for recognition for the ‘Welcome Home Viet Nam Veterans Day’.

“I was so proud of him and how much he cared about his family and his fellow veterans,” Sylvia said “I was blessed to be married to my best friend for 50 years.”

Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.

In 2009, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law, with Jose Ramos by his side, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, which designates March 29th of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

On that day in 1973, the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil.

It is also the date President Nixon chose for the first Vietnam Veterans Day in 1974.

Thirty-eight states and Puerto Rico joined in recognizing the day.

The U.S. Senate in 2011 formally recognized Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

The grassroots campaign began as the dream of one veteran, and has since spread to every corner of the country.

It was designed to show Vietnam veterans the honorable “welcome home” they did not receive four decades ago.

At Ramos’ request, Whittier became the first city in the U.S. to recognize Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in 2002.