By Meredith Barnhill
Juan Martinez, Jr. is the embodiment of the patriotism Mexican Americans demonstrated during his time in the Army.
Born Nov. 20, 1922, in El Paso, Texas, to Juan Martinez, Sr. and Sebastiana Valdez Martinez, he grew up speaking both Spanish and English. Though both of his parents were from Mexico, he identifies himself as “American,” not “Mexican-American.”
Martinez was the third of five children and the only boy. The entire clan practiced Catholicism and attended church at least once a week at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in El Paso.