LIFESTYLE

22 years after his death, Cesar Chavez to get Navy funeral honors

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. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Civil rights and labor leader Cesar Chavez is going to be honored for a different kind of service.

On Thursday, the 22nd anniversary of his death, Chavez will get full graveside honors from the U.S. Navy at his memorial in California.

The idea for the ceremony came from a current Navy sailor who learned Chavez did not receive the honors at the time of his death, according to the Cesar Chavez Foundation.

The foundation is hosting the ceremony, along with the National Park Service, which operates Chavez's memorial.

Current sailors, veterans and Chavez relatives are expected to attend the formal ceremony that will include a Navy bugler playing "Taps," a rifle salute and a folding of a U.S. flag that will be presented to Chavez's widow, Helen.

The ceremony won't be the only time the Navy has honored Chavez. In 2012 it launched a cargo ship it named the USNS Cesar Chavez.

Organizers say Thursday's honors are an opportunity to show the public that Chavez, not known for his time in the military, served in the Navy after World War II, and it helped him become the fighter and organizer he would later be known for.

"Cesar endured discrimination in the Navy and at home during the '40s," the foundation said in a statement. "Cesar belonged to a generation of Latinos and other people of color who returned home from the service after World War II determined to see that the country for which they sacrificed fulfilled its promise of equality and freedom. That motivated him to work for civil and labor rights starting in the early '50s."

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