San Antonio

Henrietta Lopez Rivas

By Sherri Fauver

For a generation that experienced both the Great Depression and the trials of World War II, hardship and sacrifice was a fact of life.

If you add to that, the experience of being a Latino and a woman at a time when neither group was well regarded, you could have the making of a melodrama. Unless, of course, you are talking to Henrietta Lopez Rivas.

Pedro Prado

By Gabriel A. Manzano, Jr.

Pete Prado recognizes the brutality and inhumanity of war. But he also knows that because of his experiences during World War II and because of the GI benefits that resulted, his life and the lives of his three daughters and wife are far more comfortable.

"I hope that younger generations realize that war is terrible," Prado said. "We don't want it to happen again. When I was in the Philippines, I saw people picking up what you'd throw away as trash. Some people would pick it up to eat. That's how bad war is."

Edward Lopez Prado

By Ruben Ali Flores

The bombing was over, the beach secured. Edward Lopez Prado watched as the waves rolled over the body of a fallen soldier.

It was Sept. 15, 1943, the day after the Salerno invasion on Italy. Salerno was considered one of the bloodiest operations of WWII, with heavy casualties. The 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard, was the first to engage mainland Europe and test Hitler's continental forces. Prado was assigned to Company C of the 131st Field Artillery Battalion of the 36th Infantry Division.

Jesus Humberto Morales

By Lindsay Fitzpatrick

Jesus Humberto Morales survived 11 months unharmed in the jungles of New Guinea. It wasn’t until after that, in the Philippines, when he got hurt.

Shrapnel hit Morales and his partner as they were reloading a bazooka. His comrade died, but Morales managed to survive, sustaining an injury that required an artificial joint be implanted in his thumb.

Morales, who was born Oct. 25, 1918, served in Company L of the 20th Infantry, 6th Division.

Rafaela Muniz Esquivel

By Joanne R. Sanchez

San Antonio, TX - When she was seven years old, Rafaela Muñiz Esquivel - the second oldest in the family that would eventually include 15 children - began caring for her brothers and sisters. Rafaela stayed home from school when her mother needed her to run errands. By the time she was nine, there were already six children in the Muñiz household, including her brother Fernando, who was born with Down's syndrome.

Mike Aguirre

By Aryn Sedler

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- When Mike Aguirre graduated from Brackenridge High School in San Antonio in 1939, many opportunities and doors were closed to Mexican Americans.

"One of my friends got a job at the Five and Dime store and they would not hire Mexican Americans because they just weren't hiring them, or even grocery stores weren't hiring [Mexican Americans]," he recalled.

Aguirre worked in a restaurant with his mother for a while and then in 1939 he joined the service.