RIVERSIDE – A military memorial service with honor guard for an Army private who was missing in action during World War II will be held Monday at Riverside National Cemetery — 68 years after his death.
Lewis Alvarez, of Pacoima, died Feb. 11, 1945, but his family was refused a military service because Lewis’ remains were never found.
Alvarez’s mother, Esther, sent numerous letters to Washington before she died in 1998. She asked to have a military ceremony for Lewis, who was 19 when the ship he was aboard was torpedoed and cut in half, according to the San Fernando Valley Sun weekly.
Alvarez’s family contacted several legislators but to no avail. All that changed when President Barack Obama recently answered a letter from the Alvarez family, the Sun reported, and granted the request to have Alvarez recognized for his service.
The ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the cemetery’s stage area 6. The cemetery is located at 22495 Van Buren Blvd.
”We are very grateful to President Obama,” family spokeswoman Marleen Aparicio said. ”We wonder if there are many others like our loved one, Pvt. Alvarez, who served but are classified as missing in action/killed in action or lost at sea during World War II, or other wars that did not receive the honor of having a military service.”