Memorial Day 2011
My father and his little sister hid in a delapidated shack for an entire year. His mother instructed them in spanish to never open the door or else the Department of Immigration would take them away and send them back to Mexico. So they hid. My father taught himself english–mostly through reruns of I Love Lucy–while my grandmother illegally worked in a Los Angeles sweat shop. He became the translator for the family and finally enrolled in public school a couple years later.
Francisco Alejandro Guerrero Juarez de Monserat raised his hand during morning roll call and his teacher changed his name to Francis Juarez.
As illegal immigrants, his family stayed under the radar until my father enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. If he made it home from Vietnam, he’d be granted citizenship. A few years later, he recited the Pledge of Allegiance and was given a small American flag.
My father keeps an American flag waving in front of his house still to this day. He fought with pride for this country, as did thousands of others. For those who devoted and gave their lives for my freedom, thank you. I love this country for giving an immigrant a chance at living life and creating ways for his children to dream. Out loud.
Happy Memorial Day!
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