Henry Sillik

By Brandon Rawe

It was a time in America's history when communities were racially segregated and shunning minorities was accepted.

But none of that mattered during World War II to Henry Sillik, who served on a naval ship in the middle of the China-Burma-India Theater, the first racially equal setting in which he says he ever lived.

Sillik grew up in Buckeye, Ariz., a segregated town of about 600 outside of Phoenix. Sillik, who is of Anglo and Latino parentage, noticed the different standard of living for Hispanics.

Mike C Gomez

By Christine Powers

"I had a bitter taste in my mouth when I learned both my sons were drafted for Vietnam," said World War II veteran Mike Gomez.

He leaned forward in his seat, paused for a second and then emphasized: "A bitter taste."

Frustrated at the possibility of losing his children and recalling his memories of the European Theater, Gomez, 78, says the draft seemed to be an unavoidable family tradition.