Home Front

Gloria Lerma Rodriguez

By Stephanie M. Jacksis

The United States should have let the Vietnamese fight their own battle during the Vietnam War, said Gloria Lerma Rodriguez.

Among many other bizarre aspects of the war, which left many “mentally disturbed,” Lerma Rodriguez said, American soldiers at times slept with allies and enemies in the same foxhole.

“It was terrible, using innocent children with grenades hidden under their clothes. Very unjust. Thanks to God it’s over,” she said.

Rodolfo Hernandez

By Jordyn Davenport

Although Rodolfo Hernandez never saw the frontline of battle, World War II was an exciting time for him.

That’s because Hernandez performed with his family’s informal entertainment troupe as a singer nicknamed Charro Azul, for the blue suit he wore on stage.

Angela Isabel Ramirez-Herrera

By David M. Ramirez

When Angela Isabel Herrera-Flores married Adolfo Roberto “Rusty” Ramirez on Sept. 7, 1942, she became Angela I. Ramirez-Herrera. She also became a World War II bride.

Ramirez’s husband landed at Omaha Beach June 6, 1944, and fought all the way through to the surrender. Ramirez, or “Angie,” as she was known to her friends, contributed to the war effort on the home front. She was interviewed as part of her son's 1984 endeavor to record for her grandchildren and posterity her and Adolfo’s contribution to winning WWII.

Berta Parra

By Rachel Taliaferro

Berta Parra’s memory is slipping away from her.

People, places, names, dates – as she sat in an armchair at the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home, in her native city of El Paso, she worked through the gaps to tell her story. Despite the haze of a fading memory, a few images stood resilient in her mind – ironically, the images Parra had tried the hardest to forget.

Rose P. Sandoval

By Gabrielle Muñoz

When Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Rose Sandoval was nearly 5,500 miles away in Torres, Colo., where she grew up on her family’s cattle ranch. But like countless others, Sandoval experienced the war in the confines of her own home when her oldest brother, Leo Vallejos, was deployed overseas as a member of the Army. Her brother’s military service brought the war to Torres, located in the mountains of southern Colorado 30 miles northwest of Trinidad.

Gerard Roland Vela

By Araceli Jaime and Jasmin Sun

G. Roland Vela was an 11-year-old delivering newspapers when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Suddenly, everyone wanted to learn more about the bombing, and they swarmed Vela as he rode along his regular route.

“I sold all the papers I had[,] leaving me with none for my route customers,” he wrote later. “I was in serious trouble! But! Normally I sold 2 or 3 papers at 3 cents each; today people were paying a nickel -- I collected a pocketful of nickels.”

Estela Fernandez

By Jenn Zwillenberg

Estela Fernandez was a young woman in El Paso, Texas, when World War II began, so the battlegrounds seemed distant.

Wartime wasn’t about soldiers and combat. Instead, while her husband Johnny was away, she learned how to care for her family, hold a job and value education and family. She and Johnny had married on Nov. 26, 1944, at which point Johnny had already been drafted into the Army and stationed at Ft. Devins in Massachusetts as an amphibious engineer, Fernandez recalls.

Olga Delgado Flores

By Eric Latcham

When her new husband shipped off for the Philippines, Olga Delgado Flores was pregnant back home in El Paso, Texas.

Only 15 years old when she married 18-year-old Ramón Flores, she had dreams of a better life for her family and had been encouraged by a local principal to go to college. Flores soon learned, however, that traditional-household caregivers had limitations placed upon them.

Juana D. Flores

By David Muto

Juana Flores holds up a photograph her husband sent her while at war more than 60 years ago.

“For my dear wife, Juana,” script on the back of the picture reads. “The love I have for you is unforgettable.”

Depicting the couple in their youth, the black-and-white photo, which Flores’ husband, Espiridion Contreras Flores, sent while fighting in Europe during World War II, is one of the memories Flores holds onto of her late husband, whom she describes as, above all, a “decent” man who was deeply proud of his national service.

Frances Correa Reyes

By Danielle WIlson

Frances Reyes has understood the inherently difficult nature of life since childhood. Raised in the late 1920s, she and her family could only afford to buy beans and rice consistently at the neighborhood store. They depended on charity for the rest of their food.

“We had to walk 10 blocks to this place and we would go over there and get whatever they gave us,” said Reyes of how they managed to get flour, sugar, powdered milk and other essentials.

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