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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  1. Karma Caswell

    May 30th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Your stories are always so inspiring!

  2. Ashley

    May 30th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:16-17

  3. Life with Kaishon

    May 30th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    That is beautiful.
    So thankful.

  4. Rachel Tatem

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Wow, that’s a great story! Much like a lot of people’s fathers I am sure, my father was also in the Marine Corp in The Vietnam War.

    I am so glad, so very thankful, for the life I am allowed to live because the sacrifices of others.

    I actually, posted about this very thing this morning!

  5. Alexis

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    What a beautiful story and tribute to your father and Memorial Day! 🙂

    I’m happy to see through your stories the long way God brought your family and how He’s blessed your lives and blesses others through your life stories!

    All the best Ms. Star! 🙂



  6. Leya

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Awesome. This will be one of my favorite posts on your blog ever. 🙂 I am being proud of you and your family every time you write about them.

  7. Michelle Sidles

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Amazing. I’m so thankful for people like your father.
    We keep a flag waving in front of our house too.

  8. eddie

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Thank You to your father and all the other veterans who have sacrificed to keep our freedom in this country.

  9. SadieMae

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Awesome post!

  10. Shane

    May 30th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Enormous gratitude to your dad and all the service men and women whom we too often take for granted.

  11. Rudy Leal

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Your dad is awesome!

  12. Robin Bakes

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you Mr. Juarez for your service to our wonderful country and to all who have served ! Thanks for the post Jasmine and the reminder of what this day represents 🙂

  13. Abby Grace Photography

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I love this. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Annetta

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Amazing story and there are many more people out there that had to go through deep ways for freedom. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that we are truly blessed to live free.

  15. Miguel Carvajal

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Amen Sistah! I know what is like to live illegally in this beautiful Country for several years and later on have the opportunity to become a legal resident and a citizen.
    Thanks to your dad, to my husband, and to all the other brave people who have fought for our right to freedom.
    Beautiful post!

  16. Lindsey

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    what a beautiful sentiment Jasmine. Outstanding post.

  17. Robin McQuay Anderson

    May 30th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Your words are powerful and inspiring but that picture! It speaks volumes about pride, patriotism, and hope in becoming an American. We are all grateful for your father’s service, and the thousands who have served and fallen for our freedom.

  18. Camille

    May 30th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    What an incredible picture and memory. Tell your father thank you!

  19. Tony Gonzalez

    May 30th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    As a grandson of immigrant grandparents and an immigrant mother, I too am thankful. It’s amazing that people can come with almost nothing to this country and reach such great heights. If it weren’t for men like your father who answered the call to protect our freedoms by serving our country, We wouldn’t have such amazing freedoms and options to dream out loud.

  20. Ellen

    May 30th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I’m so grateful for the sacrifices your dad and many other veterans made for our country and our freedom. Huge thanks to him!

  21. Jamie Solorio

    May 30th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Wow! Amazing story! Tell him "Thank You" for me please! Love this picture even more after hearing his story.

  22. Jacqueline

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Your writing is beautiful, simple, and heartfelt. This post was so special and I just wanted to let you know how much it touched me. I’m Canadian, and not an immigrant, but something about it moved my heart: it was the story, but also the way it was written. Jasmine, thank you for telling stories. Please, never EVER stop. xoxo jac

  23. JenP

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:00 pm


  24. Michelle Edgerton

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Wow, what an incredible story! Your father is truly a hero, thank you to him and all that served our country!
    And thanks for sharing this.

  25. jade alayne

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    No wonder your so amazing! Look at you parents. Thank you to your dad and all veterans.

  26. sarah

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    i did a summer mission internship in downtown LA. we drove past those sweat shops every week and my heart ached. we volunteered in the school in skid row for those whose parents worked in the sweat shops. and my heart ached even more. what an amazing journey your family has been on. God bless.

  27. Robin Rodriguez

    May 30th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Just think, Jasmine- the great strength it took for your father to begin a new life in a new country and then to fight for that country, has allowed the many opportunities to which you and your siblings have been so wonderfully blessed! One man’s actions have, like the ripples from a stone, gone out and continue to do so.

  28. Charlyene

    May 30th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I love this! I had to run out this morning without posting on my own blog, but I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post. My grandfather was a full-blood Ethiopian and grandson of a slave. He fought in WWI and told me many stories growing up. SALUTE!

  29. Desiree

    May 30th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    What an Aaaamazing and inspiring story to hear. You know how to make a girl cry! whew.

  30. Hanssie Trainor

    May 30th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Funny to see our blog posts along the same lines today. Thankful for our parents who sacrificed so much for our dreams. And for those who fought so we could have the freedom to do so.

  31. LEOLAK

    May 30th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Moving story! Thank you to your father and many veterans and soldiers who serve and served this country with pride and courage! God Bless those living and gone who were so brave. Thank you for sharing this.

  32. Jill Samter Photography

    May 31st, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Beautiful! Thankful with you!

  33. feuza

    May 31st, 2011 at 1:53 am

    precious photo! and what a story wow and he had a head full of hair, I would love to see your dad speak in one of your videos

  34. Kare

    May 31st, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Awesome story, thanks for sharing.

  35. WeddingSnapper

    May 31st, 2011 at 3:59 am

    I love the way our American friends are proud to still fly their flag!

  36. kristin brown

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:18 am

    i love this. love love love love it. what an amazing story your family has. it’s beautiful how God structures our lives the way He does!

  37. Tammy Stark

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:49 am

    God bless and thank you Francisco Alejandro Guerrero Juarez de Monserat.

  38. Edan Ramos

    May 31st, 2011 at 6:38 am

    What a great story, thank your dad for me….he is a true American hero! God bless……

  39. Terri

    May 31st, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    You made me cry. I love how much you love your dad.

  40. Deborah

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Jasmine, your personal post always make me cry, God Bless you and your whole family, your father is a Blessing and I thank him along with my grandfather, and many uncles who fought for our Country, but also for the ones who gave their lives for us.

  41. Heather

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    WOW! I love your Dad 🙂 I thank your Dad! I am inspired by your Dad!

    Also, I love that Monserat is part of his name – so unique – and also the inspiration for my daughter’s middle name – Monset. Monserat is a mountain range in Spain. Spain is where my husbands Dad is from.

    Silly, but all these little tiny connections make me feel connected. And to be connected to such "WOW"ness is pretty cool 🙂

  42. Kira Noble

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    What a beautiful photograph. Thanks for sharing this. Thank you Francisco for your service to our country.

  43. Anahy Ruelas

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    It is beautiful that you’ve always had such a wonderful man in your life. It is also beautiful to see that people can rise from just being simple immigrants. I can relate to this story more than anyone will ever know. Bless you all.

  44. Gris Brooks

    May 31st, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    You did it again Jas…beautiful, powerful and poignant. My own family came from similar beginnings. We have a lot to be thankful for. xoxo

  45. terri z

    May 31st, 2011 at 11:20 pm


  46. Mary Marantz

    June 1st, 2011 at 12:04 am

    beautiful! as is your heart. love you! M:)

  47. Isaac Stott

    June 1st, 2011 at 1:09 am

    As a veteran, thank you for this post. As a free citizen of this great nation, I would like to say thank you to your father and the countless other men and women in the military that put service totheir country before themselves!

  48. kari

    June 1st, 2011 at 5:14 am

    I have to say…. First, why are there no comments on this???? Second, this is one of the most moving Memorial Day stories I’ve ever read!!!

  49. Michelle Carrillo

    June 1st, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    wow. Just… wow. I am speechless. (thank you.)

  50. Kelli

    June 2nd, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Love this! Just goes to show that there are a lot of hardworking immigrants out there who have contributed to our country in great ways! I can’t stand all the people who whine and moan about illegal immigrants who should learn to speak English and be "American" – Don’t they realize that all of our ancestors were immigrants at one time? That’s what makes our country so great and beautiful! Contributions from every ethnicity, every culture, every way of life.

  51. Carlos

    June 3rd, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    What an amazing story. I’m a first generation Mexican here in the U.S who enlisted and served in Iraq 3 at 18, three years after I arrived in this country. The fact that you’re sharing this with everyone, makes me an even bigger fan of yours.

    Thank you

  52. amanda west

    June 4th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    i love this story but i love it more bc my husband and i both were marines. there’s a certain pride in knowing that. its why he waves his flag out front!! thank him for his service for us.

  53. Von

    September 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes because my family relocated to the US as refugees after the Vietnam war came to an end. Please say a big *THANK-YOU* to your dad for me for his service to my birth country. Just started reading your blog and I’m so inspire by your photography and how you live your life.