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Old 09-25-2008
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Default Among the Valiant

Among the Valiant
Mexican Americans in WWII and Korea
By Raul Morin

"Among the Valiant is a true hard-hitting saga of the Mexican American soldiers. The first full-length factual account ever written by a U.S.-born American of Mexican descent. Not too many Americans are familiar with this slightly-known group who make up one of the largest minorities in the United States today. The bravery and sacrifices of these mild-mannered sons of the U.S. Southwest and Mexico's borderlands is re-lived from the pen and prose, and from perosnal notes taken at the front lines by one of them."

Among the Valiant is a intersting read for all Chicanos, it shows the sacrifices and contributions made to this country by the Mexicanos. This shows that we are a big part of this country, whether they like us or not.

Heres a part of Chapter 1.

Chapter 1
The Day of Pearl Harbor

Sunday, December 7, 1941. Every American was equally jolted by news flashes of the sneak attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor. The news of the Japanese raid was just as alarming, but sounded more exciting to the almost four million persons of Spanish and Mexican descent living in the southwestern part of the United States because it was being discussed in an exciting half-English, half-Spanish language that sounded twice as alarming to the stranger.

The whole world watched the latest developments with great interest. Experts on world affairs had been waiting for the day to come when America too would join what was shaping up to a second world war. On the morning of December 8th, history was repeated, the Congress of the United States of America declared war against aggressive axis nations just as it had happened some twenty-odd years before when we entered World War I.

It was this nation that attracted the major attention. With the United States now involved, the war was sure to take on a different aspect. True, America as a nation was expected to undertake a big part with the other allied nations, but we, as individuals, were at this moment more directly concerned with our own little world — our own selves. We began to worry more about the part each of us would play rather than what America’s big part would be.

As I recall, it was in one of the small shops in picturesque Olvera Street — the tourist mecca of Los Angeles3⁄4where we gathered to discuss the exciting news of Pearl Harbor with friends and passers-by. The conversation ranged from sober to comical, with lots of joking of the many possible effects the war would have on us who were of Mexican extraction.

“Ya estuvo (This is it)” said one, “Now we can look for the authorities to round up all the Mexicans and deport them to Mexico — bad security risks.”

Another excited character came up with, “They don’t have to deport me! I’m going on my own; you’re not going to catch me fighting a war for somebody else. I belong to Mexico. Soy puro mexicano!”1

The person that made the first remark was, of course, referring to the many rumors that were started during World War I about having the Mexicans in the United States considered security risks when it was feared that Germany was wooing Mexico3⁄4insisting that Mexico declare war against the United States and align itself with the Axis powers — with the promise that if the Axis were victorious, Mexico would then be given back all the territory that formerly belonged to the southern republic.

The real down-to-earth fact was that the two who had made the remarks, Emilio Luna and Jose Mendoza, were first and second-generation Americans of Mexican descent, never having had ties with any other country. (Both Luna and Mendoza later went into the service, serving with honor in the Marine Corps and army, as revealed in the following chapters). This was just their way of enjoying a little vacilada, a form of humor that serves as a morale builder. The idea being that by belittling your fellowman or your ethnic group, once you grasp the intent, it serves to bring those being kidded close to one another.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, approximately 250,000 Americans of Mexican descent lived in and around the Los Angeles area. This is not to be confused with statistics released through the Mexican Consulate office that lists all persons of Mexican descent. We are concerned only with Mexican-Americans, those born here and those who had become American citizens since immigrating from Mexico and establishing residency here.

Other large Mexican-populated areas in California were Orange and San Bernardino Counties, and the sprawling San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys. This gave California a population close to 750,000 citizens and aliens of Mexican descent.

In other parts of the U.S.A., the state of Texas led with close to a million Spanish-speaking residents. The majority of them lived in the lower Rio Grande Valley and in the Counties of Webb, Bexar, Nueces, El Paso, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy. New Mexico’s 248,000 were along the upper and middle Rio Grande Valley in the Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Socorro, Sierra and Donna Anna Counties. Arizona’s total of Spanish extraction were 128,000. They were located most in the Maricopa, Greenlee, Pinal, Pima and Santa Cruz Counties, with the Salt River Valley having the largest concentration of the Spanish-speaking population. Colorado numbered 118,000, the majority being in San Luis Valley in the south and the biggest concentration in Pueblo and Denver in the north.2

Thus, approximately 85% of the Mexican-American population were located in the five southwestern states. Most of the other 15% lived in Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Wyoming, Nevada, Indiana and Oklahoma, with the largest number in Illinois, mostly in Chicago. This totaled approximately 2,690,000 Americans of Mexican descent living in the United States. One-third was within the draft age limit. Most were second and third generation Americans by birth. A small number had been born in Mexico, largely in the frontier states of northern Mexico along the U.S. border, but had since become American citizens.

Along with other Americans, we all answered the call to arms.

1 “I am 100% Mexican!” Spoken as a patriotic citizen of Mexico.
2 Statistics supplied by Vicente T. Ximines, Bureau of Business Research, University of New Mexico.
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Old 09-25-2008
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Lamberto Quintero Lamberto Quintero is offline
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Default Re: Among the Valiant

I'm interested in this one, props for the post...
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