Ophelia Munoz Rodriguez

By Sarah Williams

As the wife and sister of men who served in World War II, Ophelia Muñoz Rodriguez always encouraged everyone to support returning veterans, no matter what the circumstances.

Both Rodriguez and her husband worked hard to ensure that returning soldiers were well- cared for in in their community. She acknowledged that that there may be differences between past wars and current conflicts.

“It’s hard, it’s very different now-- but the soldiers do the same job,” she said.

Quirino Longoria

By Laura Carroll

Quirino Longoria recalls joining the long Navy tradition of being initiated – or, according to some, hazed – a “Shellback” upon his virgin crossing of the Equator in 1945. New seamen are designated “Polliwogs” until they complete the Equator crossing ceremony, at which time they become hardened “Shellbacks.”

Esteban R. Garcia

By Kristin Stanford

While still a teenager, Esteban R. "Steve" Garcia learned firsthand that destroyers -- unlike nerves or stomachs -- are made of nearly impervious steel.

As waves incessantly pounded the sides of the four-stacker destroyer he was on in the South Pacific -- a ship built six years before he’d been born -- he and other newly trained enlistees slumped over the sides, with crisp white uniforms and green faces. It was Dec. 18, 1941, and they were en route to Alaska on the USS Kennison.

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."

Oswaldo V. Ramirez

By Robert Mayer

Refusing to be segregated or treated as second-class citizens, Oswaldo Ramirez and about 15 of his Mission, Texas, schoolmates boycotted the new junior high school built solely for Spanish-speaking students.

Apolonia Muñoz Abarca

By Darcie Stevens

As news of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor came over the radio on Dec. 7, 1941, a 20-year-old Polly Muñoz Abarca started dreaming of places worlds away from her dorm room in Corpus Christi, Texas.

None of the students at Fred Roberts Nursing School had ever seen war.

"We were so innocent," Abarca said.

Armando D Flores

By Bettina Luis

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX-On October 21, 2000, through the efforts of former alumni, a historical marker was erected on the south side of the Nueces County courthouse dedicated to the Cheston L. Heath Grammar School. The marker denoted one of the only segregated schools in Texas.

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