“Respect Due” – a film about Imperial Valley Vets

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Respect Due Film
Patricia Robles watches the film, “Respect Due” at Imperial Valley College.

IMPERIAL – In between Brawley and Imperial on Highway 86 is a small, lonely cemetery. Barren, dry, and cracked dirt surround the head stones and graves sites of the people buried there.

The occasional solar-powered lights glow during the night, with flowers marking the graves during the day, but as one drives by, it seems to have been forgotten, with little care paid to the upkeep of the sacred grounds.

Roy Dorantes, a peace time veteran of the Army Reserves pulled over one day and examined the cemetery, discovering 76 different grave sites belonging to veterans from WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Motivated by his belief in America’s freedoms and his desire to fight for them, Dorantes was inspired to create a film and book series, documenting and honoring the 76 veterans he found that day, buried in the cemetery, and others still alive.

Dorantes in creating his film asked two questions, “Why should we respect veterans?”, and “What can the community do for them?”

Dorantes reached out to the American Legion in El Centro, to find and connect with the different veterans still living in the Imperial Valley. By spending time with the veterans, he slowly earned their trust.

Through his film, and the trust he gained with the veterans, Dorantes was able to give them an opportunity to answer these two questions themselves, in a open and an emotionally, raw way.

The personal accounts in the film include veterans from the Vietnam, Korea, Gulf and Iraq wars. It captures in their own words a point of view, that from their perspective few in the United States truly appreciate the freedoms that they enjoy every day. Freedoms that exist, because of the veterans who have fought for and continue to keep safe.

In the film there is a recurring theme and answer to both questions he posed. Above all, our veterans want, “respect” and that many feel forgotten, neglected, and unappreciated for their service to our country.

The film is a rare look into the lives and sacrifices our veterans have made. It also shines a light on how much it means to veterans to be respected and thanked for their service to our country.

The film, “Respect Due” is funded by Roy Dorantes and it will be touring Southern California. It debuted November 11th, 2014 and will end its tour May 25, 2015 on Memorial Day. It will be free and open to the general public.

“Respect Due” will have 76 different events, with each one dedicated to a different veteran from the 76 veterans resting at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Imperial.

The event at IVC, held on Thursday, November 13, was dedicated to Seth Grimes, WWII veteran.

The new pending owners of Memory Gardens Cemetery, JRK International Group Incorporated, in a statement to Dorantes said, “When ownership is finalized, we will do everything in our power to restore respect to the veterans”.

Additional Screenings of “Respect Due” will be on the following dates:

Tuesday, November 18th – 6pm
548 Broadway Ave. El Centro

Wednesday, November 19th – 5:30 pm
Holtville Public Library 101 E. 6th St Holtville

Thursday, November 20th – 5:30 pm
City of Imperial Library 200 W. 9th St. Imperial

Monday, November 24th – 6 pm
Del Rio Branch Library 1501 “I” St Brawley

Wednesday, November 26th – 5:30 pm
El Centro Library 1140 N. Imperial El Centro

Tuesday, December 2nd – 6:30 pm
Hidalgo Hall 410 Cesar Chaves Brawley

Proceeds from book and video sales will go towards funding of the tour.

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