WWII Veteran and Longtime Monrovia Resident Receives Long Lost Medals

Originally published Nov. 12 @3 p.m. / Last updated Nov 13. @12:17 p.m.

Monrovia’s Veterans Day of Deference draws hundreds to Library Park

By Terry Miller

Antonio Sanchez, 94, thought he was going to breakfast Monday morning with his wife, four of his children and granddaughter. However, Sanchez’s devious granddaughter had other, more delightfully and deliciously distracting plans for her granddad.

Knowing her grandfather is reluctant to be in the spotlight, somehow Deanna Anzaldo steered grandpa to Library Park at 11 a.m. where he would soon receive four medals lost in a fire at his parents’ home may years ago – he was totally surprised.

It was all part of the master plan concocted by Anzaldo and American Legion’s Chuck Keen who helped coordinate the last minute addition to the annual tribute to veterans.

As a reluctant hero in the very significant Battle of the Bulge, Sanchez was presented with replacement medals at the conclusion of the program. His wife, Josephine Sanchez, 93, was at his side – an emotional moment indeed for the WWII veteran who received not only his long lost medals, but a standing ovation.

The Battle of the Bulge was Hitler’s last significant offensive operation. Ultimately the Battle of the Bulge probably shortened the war because the forces sent to the west were mostly wiped out, which left Hitler even less able to deal with the Soviet juggernaut to the east.

Antonio Sanchez, 94, reacts after receiving four medals lost in a fire years ago. He is pictured here with his 93-year-old-wife Josephine.– Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

Scott Sinclair, President of Allied Veterans Council hosted the annual event at Library Park Monday at 11 a.m. to honor all veterans for their service and sacrifice.

The yearly homage to all veterans fell on a Sunday this year, therefore many cities officially observed the day of remembrance on Monday.

Monrovia city councilmembers and other dignitaries, including Congresswoman Judy Chu attended the event which is a collaboration of veterans from Veterans of Foreign Wars, Allied Veterans Council and the American Legion.

Falling one day after the 100th anniversary of the end of WWII, speakers honored those men and women who are no longer with us but certainly never forgotten.

During his commanding speech, Major General Mark MacCarley, Deputy Commanding General Support, First Army Rock Island Arsenal and audience members from each branch of military service were honored, including what the General called “Coasties,” a colloquialism for members of the United States Coast Guard.

A WWII soldier stood proudly in period garb next to an original U.S. Flag, at one side of the speaker’s podium during the entire program.

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