Elena Peña Gallego

By Lindsay Peyton

While scores of Latinos valiantly served their country amid discrimination during World War II, many -- such as Elena Gallego of Fort Stockton, Texas -- fought social battles on the homefront.

The wife of a WWII veteran, Gallego remembers prejudice in her hometown: Among other restrictions, the public swimming pool and certain sections of the park and library were off limits to Hispanics, signs in restaurants reading: "No Dogs Allowed" applied to Latinos, and they were only allowed on the upper balcony of the movie theater.

Felix B. Treviño

By David Zavala

Negotiating a minefield on a snowy day in World War II Germany, 1945, Felix Treviño encountered a young German soldier who looked no older than a teenager; he was leaning against a tree, one leg gone from the thigh down, the wound still bleeding.

Peter Salcedo

By Diana Lee

As a child in southern California, Pete Salcedo hid in embarrassment during lunch to eat homemade tacos.

"At that time you didn't have all these Mexican restaurants," Salcedo said. He thinks their growing popularity in mainstream America caused him to stop hiding his Mexican food.

Armando Miguel Rodriguez

By Heather Anne Watkins

Dr. Armando Rodriguez knows what it's like to be oppressed, but with a strong will he rose to the top and is living a long, happy life. Immigrating to the U.S. from Mexico when he was six years old, growing up in a family of eight siblings and leading Latino organizations in high school that he said were deprived of opportunities given to white students were only a few of the obstacles Rodriguez had to overcome.

Porfirio Escamilla Martinez

By Yazmin Lazcano

The experience of stepping over hundreds of bodies -- the sounds of mine blasts, surf pelting the coast and bullets whizzing overhead filling his ears -- is as vivid to Porfirio Martinez today as it was 55 years ago.

For Martinez, WWII isn’t over. He fought in major battles, and continues fighting today through nightmares of the D-Day landings.

Martinez recalled the 'tiradero' (the mess) of thousands of bodies on the beach during the second wave of D-Day landings.

"Dead. All dead," he said.

Carlos Guzman Guerrero

By Antonio Gilb

Over half a century after it happened, Carlos Guerrero remembers the incident in May 1945 clearly - because of what it symbolized about America's racial tensions, as well as because of what it said about how communication can solve problems.

The incident happened like this: Guerrero's 65th Infantry Division was liberating a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. But the platoon sergeant had too much to drink that day and was acting like it. He was acting rowdy, and provoked an African-American major, calling him a "nigger."

Frank Arellano

By Veronica Sainz

In the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, 22-year-old Frank Arellano had just gone down for breakfast at Schoffield Barracks, on the Hawiian Island of Oahu, when he heard the sound of machine guns firing. He looked up and saw a group of planes diving to the left.

"I could see the red rising sun on them and I noticed their wheels were down," Arrellano said in an interview last fall.

Joseph Alcoser

By Eric Garza

The Great Depression. World War II. The civil rights movement. Joseph Alcoser lived through these milestones in American history. Yet, he never truly felt that he was part of the country that he fought to defend.

Joseph Alcoser, or Joe as he was also known, was born in Melvin, a small town in central Texas, in 1925. One of 10 siblings, he was born the son of a migrant farm worker and like many Mexican-Americans of his time, spent much of his childhood moving from field to field harvesting crops.

Rudy Acosta

By Frank Trejo

Growing up in Southern California, Rudy Acosta was like countless of other young boys. He escaped each week to the movies and watched the likes of Errol Flynn and John Wayne triumph over the bad guys.

Little did he know that just a few years later, World War II would propel him into the midst of one of the biggest confrontations the world has seen. Acosta, the son of Mexican immigrants, would find himself in the center of numerous heroic escapades.

"In my case, I lived that... We lived that experience," he said.

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