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Published Sep. 16, 2005

HECTOR GARCIA, 82, a Hispanic civil rights activist and founder of the American GI Forum, died Friday after a lengthy illness. An Army veteran of World War II, he was a recipient of the Bronze Star. He formed the American GI Forum in 1948 to battle discrimination facing Mexican-American veterans coming home from the war. He was appointed ambassador to the United Nations in 1967 by President Johnson, and in 1984 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Reagan.