LETTERS: Honoring servicemen today

Moment of silence today

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates those military men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we may continue to enjoy our freedom as citizens of the United States of America.

Today is our chance as Americans to unite in this opportunity to honor the men and women who died while serving our country. This Memorial Day, the Texas Veterans Commission asks that you take part in a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. for one minute.

During the Moment of Remembrance, we come together to honor and commemorate their deeds and give thanks for their valor. We celebrate the excellence of the ordinary men and women who rose to perform extraordinary feats. Their courage and sacrifice serve to remind us of the values for which our nation stands – Duty, Honor, and Country.

On Memorial Day in 1982, President Ronald Reagan in referring to those who gave their lives willingly for their country stated: “Yet, we must try to honor them — not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.”

It is our sacred responsibility to preserve the legacy of our nation’s patriots. We are bound by honor to do so. For without the courage and valor of our nation’s veterans, the values and principles that have made it possible for Americans to meet new challenges and move forward as a nation would have been lost.

Their courage and sacrifice will always be remembered and honored across this great state, this great nation and most importantly, in our hearts.

Eliseo “Al” Cantu, chairman, Texas Veterans Commission

Undocumented soldiers

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, for sending a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to issue an executive order to exempt U.S. military veterans from deportation.

Who would think that undocumented men and women would enlist or be drafted to serve in the U.S. armed forces?

Pedro Cano, a former Mexican national farmworker is an example. When he was two years old, his parents brought him to the United States. At age 24 he enlisted in the U.S Army and in 1944 was sent to Germany. He fought valiantly and courageously. On several occasions his 5-foot-3-inch frame enabled him to crawl and wiped away several German machine gun nests. According to a resolution passed by the Texas Legislature, Cano was credited with killing 30 German soldiers. He was discharged after the war but was never honored or recognized for his heroism.

Several Valley lawmakers — like state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, former state Rep. Veronica Gonzalez and former U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa —were instrumental in seeing that Pedro Cano would receive the honors and recognition he truly deserved. And on March 2014, Pedro Cano received the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Barack Obama. That is the highest honor awarded to U.S. veterans who exemplify courage and true patriotism.

Pedro Cano became a U.S. citizen in 1946. The soldier who survived improbable odds in the German battlefield was killed in the Valley by a drunk driver in 1952.

To conclude, I concur with Rep. Gonzalez who believes that men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces should be given the opportunity to be citizens of the country they defended.

Pete Romero, McAllen