A Perspective on the Texas Veteran

saenz diary1
Cover image, "The World War I Diary of José de la Luz Sáenz"
© Texas A&M University Press

Perspective on the Texas Veteran

Historian Emilio Zamora details life of WWI soldier for presentation at Institute of Texan Cultures

 
SAN ANTONIO – With Veterans’ Day drawing near, the Institute of Texan Cultures has prepared a program focusing on the Tejano experience in the United States Armed Forces. "Serving with Honor" is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, November 9.
 
Presenting at the event are veterans of the armed forces from various eras: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, historian Emilio Zamora will offer a unique perspective on Tejano military service, by drawing on the wartime diary of a service member: Jose de la Luz Saenz.
 
Zamora is a lifetime Fellow with the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas State Historical Association, and served as a Fellow with the George W. Littlefield Professorship in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is responsible for editing and translating the WWI diary originally published in 1933 and now available through Texas A&M University Press.
 
Zamora’s presentation will refer back to the Saenz diary, which recounts the war experiences of Mexican Americans, calling on future generations to use their battlefield sacrifices to call for equal rights at home. Some refer to Saenz’s experiences of discrimination within the armed forces as the impetus for his contribution to the founding of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens.
 
"In many cases," says Greg Garrett, ITC education specialist and coordinator for the Nov. 9 event, "the armed forces have been a crucible for our social issues. It's a theme we'll get to explore with Dr. Zamora's work. The treatment of minorities viewed from the perspective of ethnicity or gender is only one of several themes. Along with other topics, we'll explore how being a member of the military may have affected how people perceived our guests."
 
The treatment of minorities is among the themes the speakers have been asked to address; whether viewed from the perspective of ethnicity or gender. Two female officers have been invited to speak as well. Lisa Firmin, a retired United States Air Force Colonel served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Capt. Valerie Solis, on active duty, served in Afghanistan. Also joining the discussion is Ernesto Sanchez who served in the Air Force during the Korean War era.
 
"Serving with Honor" is among a series of events examining aspects of the Tejano culture. Additional programming on the Tejano experience in Texas will lead into the opening of the Institute of Texan Cultures’ new, permanent exhibit, "Los Tejanos," in summer 2015.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.
 
 

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