Serving with Honor

feat serving
© Texas Vientam Heroes exhibit committee

Serving with Honor

The Tejano experience in the Armed Forces

 
SAN ANTONIO – Texans and Hispanic Texans have a long history of defending freedom in the armed forces. With Veterans Day approaching, the Institute of Texan Cultures will convene a group of veterans and scholars to discuss the Tejano experience in the United States Armed Forces.
 
Scheduled for the museum’s free Second Sunday, "Serving with Honor" will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. The museum has gathered veterans with expertise from the Korean War to the present, and a scholar who has been analyzing the diary of a World War I Tejano soldier.
 
University of Texas at Austin history professor Emilio Zamora will begin, the presentation. Zamora, a Fellow of the Institute for Historical Research Barbara White Stuart Centennial Professorship at UT-Austin, has been studying the diary of Jose de la Luz Saenz. Zamora is responsible for the only English translation of the diary, originally published in Spanish in 1933.
 
Remembrances continue with contributions from Ernesto Sanchez (USAF Ret.) who served in the Korean War; Col. Lisa Firmin (USAF Ret.), who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Capt. Valerie Solis, currently on active duty, who has served in Afghanistan.
 
"We want to provide the platform to tell and to hear these compelling stories," said Lupita Barrera, director of education and interpretation at the Institute of Texan Cultures. "Opportunities such as these help us to learn about ourselves and about others. Military service has consistently been a part of this culture."
 
Beginning with early childhood, in most cases, the veterans will shed light on the motivations for joining the armed forces. They will reveal in detail the personal factors leading them into military service, and on how they feel about their military experiences. They will have the opportunity to speak on whether or not they thought the military gave them equal footing with their peers, despite race or gender. Additionally, the speakers may comment on whether they would recommend military careers to the youth of today.
 
The discussion begins with the diary of Jose de la Luz Saenz, as interpreted by professor Zamora, then delves into other speakers and their military experiences, such as the impact military service had made on them.
 
"Some may have seen military service as a way to advance, maybe get a better job or get into college," said Greg Garrett, ITC education specialist and coordinator for the program. "For others, it was a career; or maybe a last chance."
 
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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©2014 Institute of Texan Cultures. University of Texas at San Antonio. All Rights Reserved.
 

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