Abrazos to you all and welcome back to Latinopia! Memorial Day is a sad but a proud time for your Tia. Verdad de Dios! I don’t think there is a Latino family in the United States who has not been affected in one way or another by the wars our country has fought. This week we honor the many Latinos, past and present, who have answered their country’s call and, in so many cases, have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Today we reflect on World War Two with a visit with Julian González, a veteran who survived the D-Day invasion. We hear about it in his own words thanks to the efforts of the “Voces” Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin. For more than ten years, the project has been recording the oral histories of Latino World War Two and Korean War veterans on video. We also visit with renowned Chicano author Rolando Hinojosa who was on the front lines of the Korean War and who has written about it in his novel, “The Useless Servants.” Don Rolando reads from his book and gives us insight into the harsh tragedies of war. Bringing us up to date on the current presence of Latinos in Iraq and Afghanistan, we feature a Latinopia Showcase “They Are Still There.” This is a powerful documentary produced and directed by up-and-coming Chicana filmmaker, Liz Colunga, from Denton, Texas.
As we celebrate this week, we should remember that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was instituted to pay homage to the many Americans from the North and the South who fought and died during the American Civil War. It was officially instituted on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Union veterans of the civil war. After World War One, the commemoration expanded to recognizing Americans who have died in all wars. So as you party with friends and family this week I’m sure you’ll consider that Memorial Day means remembering and honoring.
Now many of you got your Tia Tenopia’s quiz right last week. Yes, wonderful Rita Moreno has the distinction of being an actress who has won not just an Oscar, but also an Emmy award, a Tony award AND a Grammy! The correct answer was All of the Above! I’m sure you ‘ll agree we can all be proud of a mujer like Ms. Moreno. Bueno, hasta la proxima, this is your Tia Tenopia wishing you a week of remembrance and gratitude.