Austin

Eduardo Botello


By Xochitl Salazar

On Friday, Oct. 13, 1944, the 79th Infantry Division was in its 23rd day of battle against German forces in the eastern part of Alsace-Lorraine, France.

Eduardo Botello, in a platoon of 27 men, walked slowly and carefully through the town of Embermenil searching for the enemy, when, suddenly, a mortar shell hit 8 feet behind them. The shell broke into many small fragments. Botello felt one wound to the left side of his neck. A second hit, to the back of his left thigh, was discovered later.

Manuel & Mrs. Herminia Cadena


By Francisco H. Cortes

Manuel Cavazos Cadena was only a boy during WWII. But he witnessed the effects the war had in one of the several towns he lived in: San Marcos, Texas.

Two of his brothers were employed because of the war, when an airfield was built, and gravel had to be transported for it. One brother got a job as a maintenance worker and another as a bus boy in the mess hall at the field.

Herminia Guerrero Cadena


By Ashley Hitson

Without prior understanding of the war or its impact on the world, young Herminia Cadena watched her brother leave home to join the Marines.

"I didn't recognize the importance [of the war] until my brother went in," said Cadena, who was only 9 at the time, unfamiliar with the events that were changing the world.

Alberto Bosquez


By Jane O’Brien

Fourteen-year-old Alberto Bosquez grabbed his stack of newspapers in 1941, headed to downtown San Antonio and began dealing them out. "Extra! Extra!" he called out, "Japan bombs Pearl Harbor!"

Rodolfo Alaniz


By Rajesh Reddy

In the spring of 1945, 16-year-old Rodolfo “Rudy” Alaniz's older brother Ricardo, a rifleman with the 8th Infantry Division, was killed in Germany, an event that would alter young Alaniz’s life.

"I presented my brother's flag to my mother," said Alaniz, about Ricardo's burial. "That was the saddest part of my life."

Gloria Araguz Alaniz


By Yvonne Lim

Gloria Araguz Alaniz began her role as the family caregiver when her mother passed away, leaving 15-year-old Alaniz to care for her father and eight siblings.

As her mother, Anita Flores Araguz, lay dying from an aneurysm, she asked her teenage daughter to make sure her sickly baby brother, 5-month-old Arturo, get baptized right away.

Gregoria Acosta Esquivel


By Lori Slaughenhoupt

Gregoria Esquivel was strongly influenced by her uncles who served in the military during World War II. Their patriotism and involvement in the war effort helped shape her perspective on life when she was only a child.

One of her uncles was wounded in a battle in Luxembourg and sent to a hospital in Texas. The visits to his bedside, seeing the numerous men wounded in the hospital, would have a lifelong impact on her, leading her to pursue a career in nursing.

Julius Casarez


By Laura Radloff

As a young man, Julius Casarez didn’t know exactly what he was getting himself into when he enlisted in the Army.

"My brother told me that if I enlisted sooner rather than later, I could pick where I wanted to be stationed," said Casarez, 82, who now lives with his wife, Trinity Castruita Casarez, in Austin, Texas.

Little did he know that when he enlisted, the Japanese were only a few days away from bombing Pearl Harbor, and he’d be forced to go where the Army told him to go.

Martha Ortega Vidaurri


By Tammi Grais

Martha Ortega Vidaurri learned at a young age the hardships that life could serve up: During World War II, all five of her brothers and her husband would serve in the country's defense.

Her brothers; Samuel, Daniel, Benjamin, Abel, Ruben and Eliseo; were spread throughout Europe -- in France, England, Italy and Germany; in North Africa; and in the Pacific -- the Philippines, Japan and Korea. Her husband, Edelmiro, was stationed in Iceland.

Antonio F. Moreno


By Frank Trejo

When Antonio F. Moreno stormed ashore Iwo Jima as a U.S. Marine medical corpsman, a familiar odor greeted him.

Moreno, who grew on Texas' Gulf Coast, knew there was no mistaking the smell that wafted up to him as he dug into the earth to prepare a foxhole. The sulfur bubbling under the volcanic island smelled just like the sulfur of his childhood a half a world away.

"It smelled like rotten eggs; that's why it reminded me of home," he said.