Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Veterans’ Memories


Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Librarian Cindy Costales welcomed everyone to this special program sponsored by the library, American Legion Post #397 and the Monterey Park Historical Society on November 9 at the library. She thanked Louie Morales and Mary Louise Uranga for this event.

She introduced the guest speakers: James Cardenas, Elaine Mae Woo and Pedro Chan to the audience. She thanked the guests for their support in the change of venue.


Members of Post #397 presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Chaplain Tom McCrady led the invocation. He asked God to bless the veterans who protect our freedoms with their sacrifices. We thank and honor the veterans. He asked God to protect them with peace and happiness.


Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan and Councilmember Anthony Wong attended the program. Mr. Chan thanked the veterans for our freedoms. We owe you a debt of thanks. He thanked them and their families for their sacrifices. Mr. Wong said the city and people of Monterey Park salute you. You help us enjoy our democracy. You are our heroes with your dedication to help the people in the United States. He thanked them and asked God to bless them and America.


Elaine Mae Woo, James Cardenas and Pedro Chan, who sat the head table, were ready to share their memories with the audience.

James Cardenas, an Iraq War veteran, organized a military exhibit in the lobby that will be on display through the end of November. He was born and raised in Monterey Park. He and his twin brother were raised in a military family. Their father was a Marine.  They enlisted in the Marines together around 9/11 and served in Iraq. The experience has been great and a tool to his future. It has been quite a journey. He lives in Monterey Park with his family and his brother lives in Arizona.

Pedro Chan collects military documents, equipment and uniforms from the Flying Tigers Unit from World War II. He has collected over 1,000 items and donates them to the Flying Tiger Museum. He is scheduled to have a picture exhibit in Washington D.C. in early November. He took one year to complete the photo exhibit. He is scheduled to have an exhibit in the library in December. The opening day is December 2 at 11 AM. His exhibit will include copies of military documents, uniforms, equipment and more. He explained that the flyers who volunteered for the Flying Tigers had to first resign from their U S military service before they could fly. It was around of time the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The history event of the Flying Tigers was that all of the flyers were volunteers and later they became members of the 14th Army Air Force.

Elaine Mae Woo, a filmmaker, who produced a documentary film on the Chinese Americans who served in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater during World War II. She had a slide show titled “To The Veterans of War” and she showed it as she spoke to the audience. She thanked the veterans for their service. She thanked the library, American Legion and the Historical Society for inviting her to this event. She made a documentary film on Anna Mae Wong. It was the first documentary on an Asian American. She is currently working on a documentary and oral history of the Flying Tigers. She stated that her grandfathers came to the America. Her father was a paper son, who served in the 14th Army Air Force. They served in separate units. She spoke about the Chinese Exclusion Act that was repealed so that 20,000 to 25,000 Chinese Americans could serve in World War II, from 1941 to 1946. She explained that military records could be a good resource for genealogy research.

Ms. Woo will exhibit her film in the library at a later date.  The date and time will be listed in the city’s Cascades Newspaper.

Mrs. Uranga advised the audience that the new dome would be installed on the Garvey Ranch Observatory in mid December.  Currently the old dome has to be hand cranked to open due to earthquake damage. The observatory is opened on every Wednesday night.

The American Legion would be hosting a Veterans Day ceremony with the city on 11-11 at 11AM in front of City Hall with a luncheon served at the Post.

Mr. Chan reminded everyone of the Memorial to all of the Americans and Chinese who fought together in World War II is in front of City Hall. It is the first type of memorial in the United States.



Exhibits of Mr. Cardenas’ Iraq War mementoes are on display in the library lobby.


All of the veterans who attended this event were honored by the audience.

Leave a Response