Robert Lee Polanco Sr.

By Kevin Bradley, St. Bonaventure University

Robert Lee Polanco Sr. sat on the plane, nervously biting his nails. The flight had left Texas nearly three hours earlier. They would be passing over the Pacific Ocean on their way to the other side of the world.

In 1971, Polanco was a soldier in the Army, returning to the war in Vietnam after “just a few days … not even a week” of absence.

Eduardo Fierro

By Gilbert Song

“All gave some, some gave all” is an old adage that captures the sense of duty and honor Eduardo M. Fierro felt about his service in Vietnam.

Around noon one Sunday in May 1968, while on a sweep-and-destroy mission, his Army platoon was ambushed by a company-sized element of the Viet Cong. Part of Fierro’s right arm was torn off in the firefight, and he was wounded in his right thigh.

Alberto Lara Rojo

Alberto Lara Rojo heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor the day after it happened.

“We didn’t know about it; we lived on the wrong side of town,” recalled the Mexican-American Navy veteran.

On that Monday, the Sunday attack on the American naval base in Hawaii was the talk of his high school in Marfa, Texas, where he was a freshman. Outside the school, other Mexican-American students told him, "It’s a gringo war. It does not affect us Spanish people."

Antonio Rojo

By Bryce Pohlmeyer

A trip to Alaska can be conjured from the comfort of a faded brown recliner and the churning of boat propellers almost can be heard from an Alpine, Texas, living room.

Those memories are cherished by Antonio Rojo who as a young child faced discrimination only to be drafted into the Army Air Forces during World War II.

Armando Oscar Garcia

By Grant Abston

In August 1945, Armando O. Garcia and his family gathered around the radio and listened to the news: The United States had just dropped an atomic bomb on Japan.

Although the destruction took place far away, it was a significant event in the mind of an 8-year-old boy in the small Southwest Texas town of Marfa.

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