Cesar Chavez to get Navy funeral honors 22 years after death 

click to enlarge Cesar Chavez
  • AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
  • Cesar Chavez, civil rights advocate and United Farm Workers founder, is shown in this June 29, 1989 file photo. On Thursday April 23, 2015, the 22nd anniversary of his death, Chavez will get full graveside honors from the U.S. Navy at his memorial in California.
The sister of the late labor leader Cesar Chaves says she could feel her brother's presence at a moving ceremony honoring his Navy service 22 years after his death.

Rita Chavez Martin was one of several hundred gathered at his graveside for a ceremony bestowing honors from the U.S. Navy. Relatives said that at his death nobody thought about his military service. They focused instead on his work with farmworkers.

Chavez Martin says she wrote a letter to her brother every day of his service in the Pacific.

She says he wrote back about discrimination he endured, as well as good times.

Associate Marc Grossman says that Navy service convinced the civil rights leader that he couldn't accept the discrimination back home.

The ceremony honored Chavez with a 21-gun salute and taps.

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