We grew up with members of the Gandara family here in Santa Monica on Raymond Avenue. Our friend Paul Gandara spoke of his uncle Joe Gandara who was killed in World War ll a very few times speaking of the way in which he was killed in action with reverent praise and honor. Paul lamented the view that his uncle would never be recognized for his heroic sacrifice because Joe Gandara was of Mexican decent.
I am sorry to say that at the time I rejected that view, and that when it came to those who serve at the edge of freedoms shining and forfeit all there to a greater cause, that race, creed, color or religion would have no influence on this nation’s ability to recognize the difference when a private in the armed forces during war time rushed forward against impossible odds named Gandara.
I am very sorry that Paul Gandara did not live long enough to know that President Obama has righted a wrong by seeing to it that Joe Gandara and many other service men have been honored with the citation they deserved in service to this nation during war time.
It is altogether fitting and right that the city of Santa Monica name a plot of land in the form of a park to the memory and heroism of a real native son besides a grave site. To do any thing less not only dishonors the city, it dishonors the man Joe Gandara. I join the extended Gandara family in their quest to see to it that this honor is conferred in recognition of the distinction of the Medal of Honor conferred posthumously upon Joe Gandara by naming a park after Joe Gandara here in Santa Monica.