26
May
08

John Wayne Was Not Latino

Today is Memorial Day, when we put flowers on the graves of dead soldiers, Marines, airmen, and Navy members, proclaiming them all to be a credit to America. This is true, for once, even of those who weren’t citizens.

As I’ve pointed out earlier, the first U.S. service member killed in the current Iraq debacle was an immigrant from Guatemala. And Hispanics have sacrificed by the thousands in U.S. wars.

Yet the contributions of Latinos to America’s military have been so overlooked that Ken Burns had to be culturally bitch-slapped to include a few minutes of extra footage of Latinos for his World War II documentary.

For this reason, “The Borinqueneers,” a PBS documentary, may be the only way for Hispanic members of the theoretical Greatest Generation to get their due. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t vouch for its quality. But it’s about time that filmmakers acknowledge that those fresh-faced corporals weren’t all redheaded kids from the Nebraska cornfields. Some of them went by Ramirez and Hernandez and Sanchez – you know, American names.

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