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Edward Daniel Morin


By Destinee Hodge

In 1965, after two weeks at sea aboard the USS Gordon, Eddie Morin heard the captain declare over the loudspeaker for the first time that he and his fellow soldiers were headed to Vietnam. It was something they already knew.

Morin was a part of the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and he was among the first group of U.S. soldiers to set foot in Vietnam, and among the first to witness the horrors that came with it.

Jesus Esparza Muñoz


By David Pearl, Cal State Fullerton

Jesus "Jess" Esparza Muñoz emerged from a fragmented and impoverished family to live a version of the American Dream, including a stint in the U.S. Navy that allowed him to travel the world.

John S Hernandez


By Allison Harris

Even at almost 90 years old, World War II veteran John S. Hernandez can recall the challenges facing him on his first day of kindergarten at Belvedere Elementary School in Los Angeles.

"My mother couldn't speak English, and I couldn't speak English because I was brought up by Mexican parents that had immigrated here in 1898," he said.

Alonzo Robert Rivera


By Ali Vise

Catching a midnight train in Fresno, Calif., Alonzo R. Rivera Jr., watched his mother, draped with a blanket, crying as she said goodbye. At that moment, the work of his childhood harvesting grapes and cotton became a thing of the past. He recalled his father’s departing word: “I’m going to see if you’re a real man now.”

As the son of migrant workers, “Junior” as his parents referred to him, spent summers in the agricultural fields. He is the oldest of three siblings, all of whom were farm workers.

Jesus Soto


By Bernice Chuang

About 14 months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Jesus “Joe” Soto, 20 years old, enlisted in the Marines as a private. His ship, the USS New Orleans, deployed for Pearl Harbor in October, just a few months before the attack.

Soto served proudly in the Marine Corps and said he found brotherhood and unity aboard his ship. While the war provided many frightening memories for Soto, he also found pride in his achievements as a Marine.

Manuel Cavada


By Lena Price

It was an evening like any other in Saigon in April 1968, Manuel Cavada, an Air Force crew chief, was doing the routine maintenance on C-121’s aircraft. His job was to make sure the engines were free of metal debris.

But within minutes, he realized that rockets had been fired and were heading his way.He did not expect to get caught in the middle of an air raid and come close to death.

Raul P. Arreola

Severo Paul Lopez


By Sonia Alvarez and Joe Muller

Due to his father's career as a casting agent and magazine entertainment writer, Severo Lopez always held a special place in his heart for the arts and cinematography.

After watching Frank Sinatra perform at the Palladium in Los Angeles in the early 1940s, Lopez arrived home after midnight and was shocked to see an FBI car waiting at his front door. He was informed that he had failed to report for duty when his World War II draft notice arrived.

Alfred G Gonzalez

Rene A Cazares