By Jazmin Sanchez, California State University, Fullerton
By Joshua Barajas
As a spouse whose husband was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War, Eugenia “Jennie” González Alemán couldn't just sit at home waiting for him to come back: She wrote letters for mortally wounded American servicemen.
"They would cry and would be hurting -- [men] of all ages,” Alemán recalled. “But I really got touched by the young ones, I guess, because I would think of my [younger] brother,” she said, referring to Domitilo A. Gonzales, an Air Force mechanic.
By Jasmine Powell
Emily Martinez Alvarado never served her country in the military. She served it at home, as one of the thousands involved in the Chicano movement, by way of the Crusade for Justice, and as an important civil rights activist during the Vietnam War era.
Emily Matilda Martinez was born on Feb. 18, 1935, in Taos County, N.M. She moved with her family to Taos as a baby. When she was three, her parents separated. They divorced two years later. She was their only child. Both later re-married and had more children.
By Mary Mejia
In 1938, Vicenta Sanchez Lopez became the first Mexican American woman to graduate from her high school in her predominantly Anglo home town of Sonora, Texas, about 200 miles west of Austin. Just one year earlier, the first Mexican American man graduated from Sonora High School.
From the 1920s to the 1940s, she said, Anglos controlled Sonora and discriminated against minorities.
By Wes Hamilton
Mary Patricia Torrez Rangel knew there were places in Topeka, Kan., where Latinos were not allowed to go -- swimming pools, movie theaters, and restaurants. She simply refused to obey the restrictions.
“You know you have to speak up. I don’t like to be pushed around,” Rangel said.
Rangel is the daughter of Marcario Torrez and Guadalupe Thomasa Gutierrez de Torrez, both from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her father’s family came to Topeka in 1917 and worked for the Atchison Topeka Railroad company.
By Andrea Carpena
For many Hispanics, the Vietnam War era often led to conflicts between their deep loyalty for the United States and the emerging civil rights movement in barrios across the country, even as the traditional roles were changing in Latino households.
Unlike many Mexican-American women during the 1960s, Guadalupe Martinez didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, or clean houses and offices. She understood the importance of higher education and decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a legal assistant.
By Destinee Hodge
In 1965, after two weeks at sea aboard the USS Gordon, Eddie Morin heard the captain declare over the loudspeaker for the first time that he and his fellow soldiers were headed to Vietnam. It was something they already knew.
Morin was a part of the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and he was among the first group of U.S. soldiers to set foot in Vietnam, and among the first to witness the horrors that came with it.
By Ashley Nelcy Garcia
For Estella Zaragoza Hernandez, working in the fields under the sizzling California sun as a young girl was not much more than a child’s game.
It was part of her life, growing up as the youngest of six children, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who crossed the American border years before she was born. When she was a child, Hernandez’s family migrated from place to place picking crops and working the fields throughout California.
By Vidushi Shrimali
Mercurio Martinez Jr. has never served in the armed forces, but both he and his hometown of Laredo, Texas, have been touched by veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Martinez said his community always held an immense respect for war veterans.
By Joshua Avelar
For Richard Geissler Jr., a U.S. Army veteran who became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, passion for community activism shaped his life despite the many different communities he served and the overbearing obstacles he faced.