Placido Jose Lozano

By Andrew Stark, St. Bonaventure University and Alicia Machuca, Cal State Fullerton

On Dec. 7, 1941, Placido Jose Lozano was at a movie theater, enjoying a soda and 25-cent popcorn with his friends. Suddenly the film stopped, and the theater manager came out and placed a large radio on the stage.

Alfonso L. Matta

By Christina Tran

When he became vice chairman of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1990, Alfonso Matta would recall his closest experience with a railcar, when he was a 14-year-old on a bike.

“The railcar – we had rail then – it turned on Houston Avenue, and I came and bumped up into it, and I fell onto there and hit something, and it stopped the streetcar, and the streetcar driver was like what are you doing there, and get off,” Matta said. “It was electric. I thought the wheels were gonna get me.”

Reynaldo Benavides Rendon

By Erica Sparks

Unlike most World War II soldiers from the U.S., Reynaldo Benavides Rendon joined the military to get out of jail.

He wound up there in 1942 after an immigration officer outside of Corpus Christi, Texas, stepped onto a bus on which Rendon was riding. He’d been picking cotton in Mississippi with his father and was headed back to Robstown to recruit workers to help out on the plantation.

According to Rendon, the immigration officer asked him where he was born so he gave an honest answer:


Aurora Estrada Orozco

By Desirée Mata

Aurora Estrada Orozco was only about 4 years old when she came to the United States due to the unrest in Mexico. Her father, Lorenzo Estrada, worked as a bookkeeper at an American gold, silver and coal mining company in Serralvo, Nuevo Leon, until Pancho Villa's men started sabotaging production. The company, known to Orozco only as "La Fundacion," decided to leave and offered Lorenzo a position in Mercedes, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley.

Abraham Eleuterio Moreno

By Yolanda C. Urrabazo

While living in Mexico in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, Abraham Moreno developed a strong value of hard work at a young age.

His good work ethic was soon implemented when he arrived in the United States as World War II developed.

Moreno was born in 1912 in Monterrey, Mexico, one of nine children. His father, Abraham Moreno Villarreal, had been a merchant and a winery administrator through the difficult years of Mexico's war. Abraham lost his fortune because of the revolution, Moreno says.

Luis Leyva

By Monica Flores

Feeling like a full-fledged American despite lacking a U.S. birth certificate, Luis Leyva never let his Mexican citizenship status affect his dedication to his adopted homeland.

Julius V. Joseph

By Jacob Collazo

At the onset of the Korean War in 1952, Julius V. Joseph, a veteran of World War I and II called his local recruiting office to volunteer his service. The recruiter asked Joseph if he had ever served in the military, Joseph answered that he had and that he reached the rank of captain as a combat medic. The recruiter moved on to other question until eventually he asked Joseph for his date of birth, to which he replied May 21, 1902.

Ramón Galindo

By Marta McGonagle

It was May 8, 1945. The war in Europe was over, but not for Ramón G. Galindo. After the death of Adolph Hitler, it was Galindo's 571st Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion that was stationed at Hitler's headquarters. As Galindo stepped into the building, the first thing he saw was a large swastika, the powerful symbol of the Nazis.

Covering the walls were oversized pictures of Hitler and his top officers.

Part of Galindo's mission was to protect the images of the very man the Allies had been fighting against.

Jose Galindo

By Lisa Cummings

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Nationality Act of 1940 on October 14 of that year, Jose Galindo's life would never be the same. The act allowed Mexican-born residents to be drafted or volunteer for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Earlier that same year he offered to assist the United States Army and was rejected because he was a Mexican citizen.

Galindo received a Certificate of Naturalization, which allowed him to serve in the U.S. Army.

"I wanted to volunteer," Galindo said. "They wouldn't accept me because I was a Mexican citizen."

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