I took some time this Veteran's Day learning the story of Felix Longoria, a Mexican-American who lost his life in the Philippines during a valiant and dangerous mission during that summer between the end of World War II Europe in the Pacific. The short promo below hints at the broad, historic sweep of the Longoria story, as told by filmmaker John Valadez of Independent Lens. Have a look, and then make plans to see the full documentary, in English or Spanish.
town is on the northern edge of South Texas, 50 miles north of my old teaching job (at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Alice Extension) and 200 miles north of our former home in Pharr.
Arlington National Cemetery. The film explains why Senator Lyndon Johnson was present for the burial, but not visible in news coverage of it, and how his involvement on behalf of the Longoria family helped to bring both JFK and LBJ to the White House.
corrido in Pvt. Longoria's honor, and ultimately succeeds in having a state historical marker erected. Pieces of the song are played in various scenes (at 10:00, 28:45, and 49:00 to the end).
I was interested in the Hernandez side story for two reasons: first, I have been teaching some of my students about corridos recently, but mostly the narrow sub-genre of narcocorridos, and it is good to have an example that is a bit more typical of what corridos are all about. Second, I have recently been involved in trying to have something named for a hero of mine, though it was a coffee shop instead of a post office. I am learning to look for a way to get past the frustration over a bad decision, as Hernandez had to do, and look for other ways to honor a legacy.