The Whittier Post Office was officially renamed the Jose Ramos Post Office during a ceremony Wednesday to honor the late, decorated Army combat medic who worked to establish a day honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in which he served.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Norwalk — who introduced the bill to rename the building at 8520 Michigan Ave., following Ramos’ death in 2017 from pancreatic cancer — presided over the ceremony, unveiling a gray-and-white plaque that will adorn the facility, along with a framed proclamation.
She was joined by members of the Ramos family and local veterans.
“Every single person who serves this country in uniform deserves a hero’s welcome when they return home,” Sanchez said Wednesday.
“No one believed in that more than Jose Ramos. Throughout our years of working together, Jose was a true partner and friend. Renaming the Whittier Post Office in his honor is a small token of gratitude from this community and from our entire nation.
“I am proud to formally announce and celebrate the Jose G. Ramos Post Office today.”
Then-President Donald Trump signed Sanchez’s bill honoring Ramos into law on Dec. 13, 2019.
Sanchez, when she announced her intent to introduce the bill in April 2019, called the former Whittier resident — a 1968 Purple Heart recipient — “a powerful advocate for veterans in our community, in our state and across the country.”
After the war, Ramos worked at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.
Ramos retired in 1999 and spent much of his time advocating on behalf of veterans. As a result of Ramos’ efforts, many states, including California, have established March 29 or 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
“Mr. Ramos bravely served our country in the Vietnam War as an Army combat medic, earning a Purple Heart,” Sanchez said in 2019. “Like far too many veterans returning home, he was caught in the crossfire of public debate surrounding the Vietnam War.
“Years later, he made it his mission to advocate for his fellow servicemembers and inspired me to introduce legislation that would establish a national Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”
Ramos was born in East Los Angeles and enlisted in the Army in 1965, while a sophomore at Garfield High School.
“Upon returning home, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, yet his passion and commitment to our country and his fellow service members did not end,” Sanchez said in 2019.
“Many of our veterans at the time found themselves caught in and confused by the crossfire of the public debate over the war in Vietnam. At times, some faced sharp criticism and isolation.
“Mr. Ramos saw this and decided to do something about it. He dedicated his time delivering a message of his experience and those of his fellow veterans to those that would listen at universities, schools and prisons. He undertook a grueling cross-country bicycle trek to draw attention to and advocate for the long overdue welcome home that Vietnam War veterans never received.”
Sanchez said renaming the post office building will enable Ramos’ work to live on.
“It’s a small token of gratitude from a nation and community thankful for his service and advocacy,” Sanchez said in 2019. “I’m proud to know that kids one day will look up to see his name on the building and learn about who he was.”