Old friends, distant relatives, and students and faculty of TAMUK met under one roof to share or experience stories of the unsung heroes of war, whose anecdotes are only barely understood through textbooks.
To commemorate the start of Hispanic Heritage Month at TAMUK, the Conner Museum hosted the reception of their “Latinos and Latina of World War II” exhibit from 6:30–8 p.m on Sept. 16.
Linda Escamilla, her sister Cecilia Huerta, and her sister’s husband, Candelario, said this was an exhibit that held deep meaning to them.
“This exhibit is way overdue. This portion of history needs to be recorderd,” said Linda Escamilla, who traveled from out of state to see the exhibit.
“We were excited when we heard about the exhibition because we wanted to serve not only our father’s, but also to experience all of these others who participated. We don’t want the legacy of the Hispanic to be forgotten.”
Cecilia said she learned of the exhibit from Facebook. They gathered clips of their father’s old pictures and allowed the museum to use them.
Escamilla and Cecilia, both graduates of Texas A&I, said to see the photos make their debut in an exhibit at their old institution meant the world to them.
Their father, Sgt. Maclovio L. Garcia, enlisted in the army in 1928.
Escamilla’s family was not the only one present that lent the museum art.
Esther Brown, a Victoria resident, said her father, Santiago Rodriguez, 92, Bishop resident, also served in World War II. He was present at the reception.
“I think that it’s a very nice thing for everyone that served,” Rodriguez said. “They deserved the recognition.”
Brown said this was something that younger generations could be really take something away from.
“These are all heroes, not that they wanted to be heroes. They were out there to protect our freedom,” Brown said.
Brown said her aunts learned of the exhibit, and the family got together to look through the many photos they had of Rodriguez.
Audrey Molina Vasquez, Conner Museum curator, said she was pleased with the turnout. She estimated that more than 100 people showed up to the event.
The museum staff always plans an exhibit for Hispanic Heritage Month. Vasquez said the staff felt the World War II exhibit would be especially interesting to the community.
“We’re just very happy to have it because it’s not just about World War II veterans, it’s about the Latino and Latina veterans who oftentimes get overlooked,” Vasquez said.
The HM King Mariachi del Ray performed and the NAS Kingsville Honor Guard presented the flags.