Korean Conflict

Ernesto Sanchez


By Mikael DeSanto

Laredo, Texas, native Ernesto Sanchez didn’t always want to join the military, even when there was a war in Korea. He was a college student -- hoping to get an officer's commission in the ROTC -- and didn’t want to leave his family. That changed when he saw that communists were advancing through Korea. He said to himself, “Well, someone has to stop them.” He decided to step up.

Pedro Ramos Santana


By Gabriela Chabolla

One of 14 children born to parents who worked on a sugar plantation in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Pedro Ramos Santana built his life around hard work and accountability.

His father worked in the field, while his mother tended to the house of a woman named Nena Sabater. Ramos and his nine brothers and four sisters learned the value of hard work at an early age.

“(My parents) told me that a man’s worth is determined by two things,” said Ramos in Spanish, “his integrity and his word. I walked this world with this doctrine.”

Adolfo Alvarez


By Jacob Martella

Coming back from the Korean War, Adolfo Alvarez knew he had to do something with his life.

He had survived nine months along the 38th Parallel holding the line against the North Koreans, not knowing if he would return to his family in the United States. Now, he wanted to make a difference for the Hispanics in South Texas.

"I said to myself if I make it back, I'm not going to raise hell, but I'm going to do something constructive so that this would not be in vain," Alvarez said.

Richard Armand Moya


By Alsha Khan

In the late 1960s, Richard Moya, an investigator with Legal Aid, was having lunch with two of his best friends - who also worked in anti-poverty programs - at Johnny Boy's Hamburgers. The topic: how tough it was to help their clientele.

Over hamburgers, fries and Dr Peppers at Johnny Boy's, the three of them talked about their frustrations, how to get the bureaucracy to hear the voices of the little guy.

"You know the only way we're gonna help all the people we want to help is we have to get on the other side of the table," someone remarked.

Rosalio Rabbit Duran


By Katy Lutz

Rabbit's Lounge was a dimly-lit, tiny bar that boycotted Budweiser while serving up some of the coldest beer in Austin, Texas. It might have seemed a very unlikely candidate for the Austin hub of Chicano politics in the early 1970s - if one hadn't also met its indefatigable owner, Rosalio "Rabbit" Duran.

Duran was born to diehard Democrats, Ezequiel Duran and Eva Gonzalez Duran, on May 18, 1933, in Austin. As an adolescent, Duran gained his nickname "Rabbit" because of his incomparable running speed in youth sports.

Raul Alviso Gutierrez

Moses F. Diaz


By Trina Berberet

He may have been only 16 at the time, but Moses Diaz decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy because, as he recalled: “I didn’t want to miss out on the war.”

It was 1945, near the end of the World War II, and Diaz completed his basic training in San Diego.

It was his first time away from home and he often wrote letters home to see which of his family and friends had enlisted. His mother, Martina Diaz, had five sons serving in the military during World War II.

Benny C. Martinez


By Jackie Rapp

 

Benny Martinez was born a helper.

 

He served as a medic in the Korean War. He taught unruly 6th graders. He once delivered a baby in the back seat of a car. He encourages kids to stay in school and pursue higher education.

 

“The best thing we can do here is to educate the children,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”

 

But when Martinez started the first grade in Goliad, Texas, in 1940, he hated school.

 

Manuel Rubin Lugo


By Haley Dawson

Manuel Lugo boarded a plane in Okinawa, Japan, in November 1969 on the last leg of his journey to Vietnam. From the U.S. mainland to Hawaii and then to Okinawa, the flights had been lively—chattering, joking, laughing. But “from Okinawa to Vietnam, you could have heard a pin drop,” Lugo remembered. “The atmosphere just changed from day to night.”

Robert Lee Urioste