Obsolete vehicles, big guns and other relics of war live on at a military history museum

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Memorial Day traditionally honors military veterans who died in America's many wars, but amid all the ritualistic remembering, some "veterans" are mostly forgotten, namely, the cannons and war wagons that accompanied flesh-and-blood vets in training and battle.

Beneath tall, swaying evergreens and palm trees, more than a hundred such antiquities rest in splendid obsolescence in a dusty dirt lot in South El Monte. Retrograde tanks and personnel carriers, outdated anti-aircraft guns, boxy Jeeps and hulking trucks of World War II, Korean conflict and Vietnam War vintage, all crowd the premises at the easily overlooked American Society of Military History Museum.

Every artifact in the place is armored, if only with resonant memory for the once-young men who operated them in all their former power and ferocity.

The museum, brainchild and life's mission of Don Michelson, was established as a nonprofit in 1962.

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