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RAMIREZ: FAMILY, NEIGHBORHOOD STUNNED AT CAPTURE.



Byline: Lisa Van Proyen Daily News Staff Writer

Yellow ribbons and American flags flew in the East Los Angeles East Los Angeles, uninc. city (1990 pop. 126,379), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential suburb of Los Angeles, in an industrial area. It has a large Mexican-American population. There is a performing arts center and a cultural center. A junior college is there.  home of captured Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, a soldier who represents the best of the neighborhood, family and friends said Thursday.

``He is just a good American boy. He went in for his country, and he is very patriotic,'' said Frank Jasso, great uncle of Ramirez, one of three Americans captured Wednesday near the Macedonian-Yugoslavian border.

``He's doing what he was sent in to do. I think we're doing the right thing. They're going in to protect the people in Kosovo. Why should people take it upon themselves to go in and kill women and children? War is for men against men, not against women and children.''

A childhood friend of the 24-year-old soldier said he was shocked to see how Ramirez looked on the Serbian television broadcast of the three captured servicemen.

``He looked scared that he was going to die, that they're going to hurt him,'' said John Hernandez, who lives two houses down from the Ramirez home. ``The way he looks on his face, he looks really scared. We just wish that we could hear that he's OK.''

Yet other friends and neighbors said they believe Ramirez, a wiry wir·y
adj.
1. Resembling wire in form or quality, especially in stiffness.

2. Sinewy and lean.

3. Filiform and hard. Used of a pulse.
 high school wrestler raised in a tough neighborhood, has enough discipline and smarts to make it through this ordeal alive.

``Andrew is serving his country. That is his desire, to always serve his country,'' said a cousin, Leo Leo, in astronomy
Leo [Lat.,=the lion], northern constellation lying S of Ursa Major and on the ecliptic (apparent path of the sun through the heavens) between Cancer and Virgo; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac.
 Rodriguez, holding back tears.

``He's doing what he wanted to do - and he's a tough kid.''

Army officials came by the Ramirez home 10 p.m. Wednesday to notify the family that he had been captured.

Ramirez's brother, Steven, an Army veteran and Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  police detective stationed in Van Nuys, was in seclusion seclusion Forensic psychiatry A strategy for managing disturbed and violent Pts in psychiatric units, which consists of supervised confinement of a Pt to a room–ie, involuntary isolation, to protect others from harm  Thursday with his parents.

In a statement, he said, ``I am extremely appreciative of the concern from everyone, and will be spending time "Spending Time" is the first single released by Christian artist Stellar Kart.

The lyrics describe the band members desire to spend "more time with God". "Sometimes it’s a real struggle to spend time with God.
 with my family to deal with this difficult situation.''

Police Cmdr. Dave Kalish said he had spoken with the detective and offered him and his family the support of the Los Angeles Police Department "LAPD" and "L.A.P.D." redirect here. For other uses, see LAPD (disambiguation).

This article or section is written like an .
.

``This is obviously a very difficult time for him and his family. He told me that he loves his little brother very much and is very worried,'' Kalish said. ``But he told me that this brother is a brave soldier and he's confident that he'll be strong through this entire ordeal.

``He was particularly appreciative of Mayor (Richard) Riordan, who personally called him this morning, expressing concern and support of all Angelenos.''

Ramirez's neighbors and friends gathered at his childhood home on Eastmont Avenue to offer comfort to family members and recall him as a friendly man who liked to work on his cars and play with his dog, Max.

``It just rocked us,'' said Armando Camarena, his uncle.

``Twenty-four hours ago, I found out there were POWs. Less than 12 hours ago, I found out it was my nephew. I was viewing it from the outside. Now we are riding in the center of a tornado.''

A second cousin second cousin
n.
1. A child of a first cousin of one's parent.

2. A child of one's first cousin; a first cousin once removed.
, Olivia Rodriguez, a receptionist at the family parish St. Alphonsus, prayed for Ramirez's safe return.

``You always hear people say that you don't think that it's going to ever touch your family, but it does. Who in the world would have thought?'' Rodriguez asked.

Family and friends alike spent Thursday watching newscasts and waiting for any word of his condition. They were stunned stun  
tr.v. stunned, stun·ning, stuns
1. To daze or render senseless, by or as if by a blow.

2. To overwhelm or daze with a loud noise.

3.
 to see him displayed on television by the Serbians.

``Everybody is shocked. We can't believe it. They said they were going to be tried tomorrow, for what? I hope they just go over there and get them,'' Rodriguez said.

A longtime dream

From age 16, Ramirez couldn't wait to graduate high school so he could enter the Army and serve his country, he told his family.

Arlina Montez, a secretary at Schurr High School Schurr High School is a secondary school in the Montebello Unified School District, located at 820 North Wilcox Avenue, Montebello, California, 90640. Students attending this school live in the Montebello-Monterey Park area.  in Montebello, remembered Ramirez as a good student with a quick smile and a love of cars. ``He would always ask if I wanted him to fix my car,'' she recalled.

He took gifted and talented classes his sophomore year. ``He made the honor roll honor roll
n.
A list of names of people worthy of honor, especially:
a. A list of students who have earned high grades during a specified period.

b. A list of people who have served in the armed forces.
 junior year,'' she said. ``I guess he cared about our country. He took a lot of history and American literature American literature, literature in English produced in what is now the United States of America. Colonial Literature


American writing began with the work of English adventurers and colonists in the New World chiefly for the benefit of readers in
.''

Upon graduating Schurr High in 1992, Ramirez enlisted for what would be the first of two tours.

Ramirez served in Bosnia, an experience that cousin Virginia Hernandez said was frightening for him. ``He saw bodies and carcasses in Bosnia and it was devastating dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 to him, yet he liked helping people,'' she said.

After his first tour of duty, Ramirez re-enlisted last year.

Hernandez said he had the opportunity to leave the military but he just loved it and talked about it all the time.

On leave in December, he returned as he always did to the close-knit neighborhood of modest homes. He told Virginia Hernandez how he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brother Steve, 31.

``He was telling me how thrilled he was with the Army, and he wanted to become a police officer like his brother,'' Hernandez said.

`Young Andy'

Ramirez's parents are divorced. His father is a computer programmer, and his mother works at Kmart in Montebello and as a teacher's assistant at Eastmont Intermediate School.

Phil Wilkinson, store manager where Ramirez's mother worked for about 10 years, said he remembers the two boys. ``They are are all-American boys - real clean cut, real polite,'' he said.

Ramirez's mother knew the dangers of having a child in the military, he said, adding, ``She was concerned but real proud of her boys.''

A neighbor of Ramirez, Mike Lara, 46, said Ramirez used to take care of his mother's dogs when she was ill years ago.

``Who knows what they'll do to him? NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO
 in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization

International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion.
 wants these POWs to be released. How can they expect that to happen when we're over there bombing their country? They're going to use that as revenge,'' Lara said.

``I feel torn both ways. I know we're there and it's right but when it strikes home, it makes you wonder why we're there,'' he said.

Across the street from the Ramirez household, sisters Henrietta Ozuna and Amparo Lopez could only think of Ramirez as a young boy.

``It's a terrible tragedy. This morning I saw the pictures on TV. I thought, oh my God. It's little Andy,'' Ozuna said.

``He was very serious but friendly and hard-working. It's very devastating. We started crying. We're just praying that everything goes right,'' Lopez said.

Neighbors and friends brought baskets of flowers with Easter lilies and roses to the doorstep of the home.

Staff Writers Lisa Weiss and Deborah Sullivan contributed to this report.

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos

Photo: (1--Color) Serbian television shows captured American soldiers, from left, Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez of East Los Angeles, Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone Major Christopher Reynolds Stone, D.S.O., M.C. (19 September 1882- 22 May 1965) was the first disc jockey in the United Kingdom.

He was educated at Eton College and served in the Royal Fusiliers.
 and Spec. Steven M. Gonzales.

Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)

Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
 

(2--3) A Schurr High School yearbook photo from 1989, above, shows a young Andrew "Young Andrew" is Child ballad 48.[1] Synopsis
Andrew seduces Helen and tells her he will fulfill his promise to marry her only if she brings him her father's gold. She does. He robs her not only of it but all her clothing. She goes home, naked.
 Ramirez itching itching
 or pruritus

Stimulation of nerve endings in the skin, usually incited by histamine, that evokes a desire to scratch. It is often transient and easily relieved. Pathological itching with skin changes usually signals dermatologic disease.
 to join the Army. At right, flags and ribbons adorn the front of Ramirez's parents's house in East Los Angeles.

Charlotte Schmid-Maybach/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1999 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 2, 1999
Words:1205
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