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LATINOS, WORLD WAR II, AND THE VIOLENCE OF MY FATHER


My father, Robert Renaud, who's now 87, served in World War II for three years. Thank you, Maggie Rivas, Ph.D, for forcing Ken Burns to include men like my father.

Now let's talk about ending The War once and for all.

To do that, we have to remember the lessons.

My father returned to San Perlita, Texas ready to fight anyone who crossed him. He believed himself a better man than those who did not go to
la guerra. To this day, he remembers his first days in the Army, his buddies, his uniform, how to salute, and the bone-breaking explosion of cannon from his driver's seat in the tank.

Daddy used to humiliate my mother because she was mexicana, and didn't speak good English like him. He thought we should bomb Vietnam into a democracy. He scoffed at Martin Luther King, Jr., as a man who "started trouble."

World War II taught my father he belonged. He took on the views of the priviliged, even though he wasn't. But ay, how he wanted to be.

Daddy beat my brother, Jorge Antonio, into a Texas prison, where he is today. He beat me almost daily, and my retarded little brother, Daniel. He couldn't believe Jorge was a genius. He hated the way I challenged him. And Daniel's diaper at six years old embarrassed him.

I love my father, and have tried to forgive him.

The War did not teach my father anything good. He says he fought for democracy, but I never saw him practice it anywhere. The only civil rights he ever wanted was for himself. Because he suffered for this country, I think he believed he would be treated equally by whites.

And that never happened. Sure, he got his medals, his pat on the back, and the false show of respect that so many veterans cling to.

But my father is a defeated man. He believes The War made him a man.

Now that we've proved we Latinos are just as capable of killing others in the name of democracy - a democracy too many men rejected when they returned home after World War II, let's honor them by remembering that War does not make heroes, much less true men.

Heroes stand up for truth and justice. This was not my father.

The Greatest Generation, I hope, is yet to come.

credits: NOAA Black History Month

















credits:

Comments

amanda said…
I don't like how the Express-News is fanning the flames on this issue. They claim to be partial and objective, yet they assign a reviewer for the WAR book, which lacks any mention of Latinos or Native Americans in WWII and therefore is historically inaccurate, and the Express News reviewer calls the bogus book "a well done and useful history." What!?

Why did the Express-News editor accept the review from a freelancer (actually a former Editor at the paper, so he should know better)?

Simple answer, so if the Express News received criticism for the review, they could say it was the reviewer's own opinion and not the editor's.

Yet the quote will probably be used by the publisher to promote the book and people will say, "oh, look, they liked it in San Antonio, so what was the big fuss about it being unfair to latinos?"

These editors are not uneducated, and they should be ashamed of trying to pull a fast one on us who normally don't read book reviews - just to divide us so they can sell newspapers.

Hearst newspapers are just as bad as Fox News.
Thank you Stacey Medellin for carrying Las True Stories; they are the best written stuff in San Antonio.


Velma
Barbara you are the very very best. Como te admiro por la fuerza que demuestras como mujer y hermana con lo que escribes. No creo que es dificil para ti hablar con sinceridad, y por eso muchas gracias porque me das fuerza a mi, ya que como educadora de tantos anos, hay veces que me siento tan sola por mis opiniones y por no tolerar el bull shit que hay a veces en las escuelas. Gracias. Te admiramos, siempre.
Tu amiga de San Felipe,

Velma

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