American Civic Life

Afghan Crisis and Pandemic Cast a Shadow on Día de los Muertos

October 31, 2021

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Helen Lopez remembers the joy of her 22-year-old grandson Hunter Lopez, a U.S. Marine corporal, when she would make her potato salad recipe that he loved so much. When she made it for him, he’d embrace her and give her a kiss on her forehead.

Hunter loved to eat everything, from tamales to doughnuts, but particularly sweets. The eldest of his siblings, Lopez looked after the others and always wanted to know more about his family’s history, particularly his great-grandfather, who was a boxing champ. Lopez, the son of two Riverside County sheriffs, talked about joining the armed forces from an early age.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez blesses an altar for the Knights of Columbus, Caballeros de Colon, in the outdoor courtyard of the Mausoleum of Calvary Cemetery and Mortuary in East Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, is the annual Mexican tradition of reminiscing about departed loved ones with colorful altars, or ofrendas. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez blesses an altar for the Knights of Columbus, Caballeros de Colon, in the outdoor courtyard of the Mausoleum of Calvary Cemetery and Mortuary in East Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, is the annual Mexican tradition of reminiscing about departed loved ones with colorful altars, or ofrendas. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A large community altar, designed by Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, was displayed at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in 2020. RNS photo by Alejandra Molina

A large community altar, designed by Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, was displayed at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in 2020. RNS photo by Alejandra Molina

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