I Am (Also) the Blood of Warriors: On Veterans Day

I’ve been discovering a lot about family lately.

In doing so, some questions came up, but so did a lot of good stories I just didn’t know.

My grandmother, Rosalina, a 1st Sgt in the US Army during WWII, before she ever became a citizen. She met my grandfather while he was a guerilla fighter during the war.

My grandmother, Rosalina, a 1st Sgt in the US Army during WWII, before she ever became a citizen. She met my grandfather while he was a guerilla fighter during the war.

My grand-uncle Manuel and my great-grandmother.

My grand-uncle Manuel and my great-grandmother.

My grand-uncle Manuel, who is a WWII and D-Day Veteran. He flew in B16 bombers during the war.

My grand-uncle Manuel, who is a WWII and D-Day Veteran. He flew in B16 bombers during the war.

My abuelo, second from the right.

My abuelo, second from the right.

At a time where I am still trying to understand my place in this country, it is nice to have these stories: ones where my family grabbed life by the reigns and decided they would do their best to master their fate.

Still, they are also complex stories: they came back from the war and still struggled to understand what their lives here meant. They still worked themselves to the bone to ensure upward mobility in a system that, despite their veteran status, consistently tried to deny them of it. The resilience that helped them survive the war and the military had to be channeled into navigating a system that, while they had fought for it, was also in some ways not built for them.

If America is built on the foundation of stories like my family’s, then I am only more inspired to keep pushing this country towards true greatness. We have been warriors, problem-solvers, and risk-takers that fought demons externally for generations.

Now, it’s time to keep wrestling with our internal demons too.

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