Boyle Heights Memorial Day vigil honors those who sacrificed

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A 24-hour Memorial Day vigil is being held in Boyle Heights to honor the memories of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. (KABC)

A special tribute is being offered in Boyle Heights to the memories of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Veterans and supporters are holding a 24-hour long vigil at the All Wars Monument at Cinco Puntos.

Veteran Tony Zapata, who helped organize the vigil, served in Vietnam and comes from a family with deep military roots. His grandfather served in World War I, his father was in WWII, his uncle was in Korea and his son went to Kuwait. So honoring the legacy of fallen servicemen and women has a deep meaning for him.

"To me it's very important," Zapata said. "We're honoring the fallen - the young men and women that gave their lives for this country. And it's only right for us to be doing it - to carry on their legacy."

Rotating in shifts, they'll stand for 24 hours in honor of those who gave their lives for our country.

Even though many people have the day off from work and spend it going to the beach or having barbecues, Zapata wants to make sure the holiday's true meaning isn't forgotten.

"It's not just another day for a barbecue, quinceanera, a picnic. Take a moment throughout the day to reflect on what those young men and women went through."

Veteran Arturo Herrera also finds deep personal meaning in the holiday.

"I lost a brother in Korea," he said. "He got killed. I do it for his honor and my other three brothers that served."

The vigil ends Monday at 10 a.m., when the 70th annual Memorial Day ceremony begins in the same place. Elected officials, community organizations, and many others are planning to attend.

It is just one of many events throughout Southern California to honor the fallen.
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