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Here is a picture of some young people we had the pleasure of playing with at the VFW 76 in San Antonio a few weeks back.  They are age 12 and the little one is only 7! They are taking classes at the Conjunto Heritage Taller.  It was great to have them perform with us!

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God bless America!  The 4th is always a good time to reflect about being Americans and living in the USA.  As you know our Hispanic war veterans are as proud of their service as any one.  We have the highest percentage of Medal of Honor winners among any ethnic group.  We had more Hispanics die in Vietnam (20% casualty rate) than the population at the time (about 7% Hispanic population).  If you visit the murals at the Cassiano Homes here in the West Side of San Antonio, you will see several murals dedicated to wars and our war heroes.  Many of our parents and grandparents came to USA from Mexico looking for a better life.  It is a sad chapter in our history here in the Southwest that many of them found nothing but discrimination and prejudice.  Even our war veterans after WW II could not eat in some restaurants and were either ignored, harassed or even worse – killed for wanting to stand up for their rights as Americans.  Some could not even be buried with dignity in their home town, like Pvt. Felix Longoria in Three Rivers, Tx.  My dad, Natividad, served in WWII and received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action on Biak Island in the Philippines.  My mother shared stories of intimidation by whites simply because they were of Mexican descent.   The really sad part is that anti-mexican sentiment is still alive and well here in the US, even among Mexican-Americans!  We call them mojados, wet backs. We tell them to go back to Mexico. We spread the lies that they are a plague on our society, and that they are “less than”.  I can see our grandparents turning in their graves to know how some of our own Raza act towards Mexican immigrants.  Our ancestors were also called “illegals” and “wetbacks” (as well as “greasers”, and “spics”, and “dirty, lazy Mescans”, etc).  There is alot of anti-Mexican (read Mexican-American) feelings going on right now by many of our fellow gringo Americans because of the immigration issue.  I for one refuse to blame the undocumented workers for any the ills in our society, blame our own greed, racism, arrogance.  We need to take responsibility not find a scapegoat.   We should never forget where we came from.  I am not ashamed to say that my grandparents came across illegally to escape the Mexican Revolution.  They came as most immigrants do today – to find a better life for their families. God bless America.  ¡Y Bienvenidos a todos que buscan mejor vida para sus familias!