4th of July

God bless America!  The 4th is always a good time to reflect about being Americans and living in the USA.  As you know our Hispanic war veterans are as proud of their service as any one.  We have the highest percentage of Medal of Honor winners among any ethnic group.  We had more Hispanics die in Vietnam (20% casualty rate) than the population at the time (about 7% Hispanic population).  If you visit the murals at the Cassiano Homes here in the West Side of San Antonio, you will see several murals dedicated to wars and our war heroes.  Many of our parents and grandparents came to USA from Mexico looking for a better life.  It is a sad chapter in our history here in the Southwest that many of them found nothing but discrimination and prejudice.  Even our war veterans after WW II could not eat in some restaurants and were either ignored, harassed or even worse – killed for wanting to stand up for their rights as Americans.  Some could not even be buried with dignity in their home town, like Pvt. Felix Longoria in Three Rivers, Tx.  My dad, Natividad, served in WWII and received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action on Biak Island in the Philippines.  My mother shared stories of intimidation by whites simply because they were of Mexican descent.   The really sad part is that anti-mexican sentiment is still alive and well here in the US, even among Mexican-Americans!  We call them mojados, wet backs. We tell them to go back to Mexico. We spread the lies that they are a plague on our society, and that they are “less than”.  I can see our grandparents turning in their graves to know how some of our own Raza act towards Mexican immigrants.  Our ancestors were also called “illegals” and “wetbacks” (as well as “greasers”, and “spics”, and “dirty, lazy Mescans”, etc).  There is alot of anti-Mexican (read Mexican-American) feelings going on right now by many of our fellow gringo Americans because of the immigration issue.  I for one refuse to blame the undocumented workers for any the ills in our society, blame our own greed, racism, arrogance.  We need to take responsibility not find a scapegoat.   We should never forget where we came from.  I am not ashamed to say that my grandparents came across illegally to escape the Mexican Revolution.  They came as most immigrants do today – to find a better life for their families. God bless America.  ¡Y Bienvenidos a todos que buscan mejor vida para sus familias!

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One Response

  1. I have been trying to recognize Pvt. Felix Longoria in his hometown of Three Rivers, Texas and the only people that block this recognition are the angry, old white folks and the Mexican-American politicians that will put aside this recognition because of votes. Back in 2004, I asked Congressman Lloyd Doggett to introduce legislation that would designate the post office in Three Rivers, Texas as the “Pvt. Felix Z. Longoria United States Post Office.” I cannot tell you the disbelief when the majority of the white folks in Live Oak Country protested, and the first ever elected Mexican-American mayor of Three Rivers also was opposed. Well, the opposition (angry, white old folks) wanted to recognize all the veterans and made it a veterans issue instead of a civil rights issue. Congressman Doggett then introduced HR4911 that would change this designation to the “Pvt. Felix Z. Longoria Veteran’s Memorial Post Office.” The recognition of Pvt. Longoria could not stand alone and we don’t want to piss off the old, angry white folks. Then, here’s the real kicker, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, who is the current congressman for Live Oak County due to the redistricting, introduced HR915 on February 8, 2007 which designates the same post office as the “Veteran’s Memorial Post Office.” Notice, that he had the name of Pvt. Longoria removed! Here is a guy that already has two elementary schools named after him and a portion of a highway in the valley. As long as he and others have their name up in lights, our own people don’t care. The Tuskegee Airmen were the recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal this year, spearheaded by Congressman Charles Rangel. We can’t even get the Aztec Eagles recognized as one of the menu items in a Mexican restaurant! General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Colin Powell are also recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal. Have we forgotten about General Richard Cavazos, who has more combat medals than Schwarzkopf and Powell put together and is the first Mexican-American General! Our Mexican-American Congress people are dropping the ball on this and it’s a shame. I even tried to recognize the American GI Forum with a highway designation, but the Mexican-American female legislator of that district had to “ask permission” from the Live Oak County Judge to see if it was “ok.” Not ok! Therefore, she did not introduce legislation that would have recognized the American GI Forum with their own highway in Live Oak County. I was stabbed in the back on this one!

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