LatinaLista — This year’s observance of Veteran’s Day takes on special significance given last week’s shootings at Fort Hood, Texas. Though the shootings occurred on a U.S. base, the shock and heartache of losing our soldiers has finally become real to too many who felt detached from the loss of soldiers’ lives.
The shooter’s motivation pales in comparison to the lives lost and assaulted by his actions. This kind of attack was certainly not the kind of combat any soldier expects to face.
The U.S. Census reports that there were 23.2 million military veterans in the United States in 2008. Of that number, 1.8 million were female and 1.1 million Latino.
One fatality of the Fort Hood shootings fits both categories — Army Private Francheska Velez.
Velez was 21-years-old and three months pregnant. She had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and had planned to make the Army a career. Now, her parents in Chicago struggle with the emotion of burying both their daughter and unborn grandchild.
Regardless of the reasons that spur young men and women to enlist in the military, they don’t diminish the fact that doing so is a decision not taken lightly since risk exists everywhere for those wearing the uniform — even at home.
Currently, warnings are circulating among Latino veteran groups to brace for even more backlash because of the war.
According to veteran Treto Garza in a column he wrote for the Rio Grande Guardian:
I received an e-mail from Otis Willie of Military Today that was sent to Latino Veterans of America at Yahoo groups. In it, it warned veterans and veteran organizations to be on the lookout for public and academic anger at veterans. “The rising level of resistance veterans today are currently experiencing is similar to the administrative and sometimes violent hostility directed at Vietnam era veterans in the 1970’s and 1980’s…”
Regardless of where they are, military veterans are fulfilling their duties as soldiers and on this day, it’s time to honor that commitment.
One young Latina singer, Noelle Garcia, wanted to show her gratitude to U.S. soldiers and recorded a “Song for Our Soldiers.”