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New Mexico exhibit honors 6 Latino Medal of Honor Recipients

By way of Reynaldo Leanos, Jr.

Daniel Fernandez, 21, an Military Specialist Fourth Magnificence used to be on a project in Vietnam when he and others have been seeking to save a wounded soldier. Once they got here below enemy hearth, Fernandez jumped over a wounded sergeant and onto a grenade to give protection to others, sacrificing his personal existence to avoid wasting them.

Fernandez is one in every of about 60 Latinos who’ve been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the best award given to an individual serving within the Armed Services and products for bravery in motion towards an enemy power.

Fernandez and 5 different Latino recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor who’ve ties to New Mexico are being venerated at an showcase referred to as “New Mexico Place of origin Heroes: Hispanic Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients” on the Nationwide Hispanic Cultural Middle in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The showcase, which opened Thursday, celebrates their lives and repair within the Armed Forces.

Daniel Fernandez, a 21-year-old Specialist Fourth Class in the Vietnam War.
Daniel Fernandez, a 21-year-old Specialist Fourth Magnificence within the Vietnam Struggle.Nationwide Hispanic Cultural Middle

The showcase honors International Struggle II veterans Personal Joseph Martínez, Personal José Valdez and Grasp Sgt. Alejandro Ruíz. It additionally celebrates Vietnam Struggle veterans Fernandez and Louis Rocco, and Leroy Petry of Operation Enduring Freedom.

All of the recipients are deceased except for Petry, who misplaced his hand when he picked up a are living grenade to verify it would not explode and harm or kill his fellow Rangers, consistent with his quotation.

“Sacrificed the whole thing”

Fernandez’s brother, Peter Fernandez who served within the Air Pressure for 4 years, used to be on the opening reception. He mentioned he’s at all times appeared as much as his older brother, who used to be 5 years older than him, particularly for his dedication to the army.

Maximum of Fernandez’s recollections of his older brother concerned their early life as a result of he used to be simplest 16 when his brother used to be killed in another country, however he recollects his as an adventurous particular person and somebody who liked animals.

Fernandez used to be about to begin his junior yr in highschool when Daniel got here again in brief after his first excursion in Vietnam. They rode horses, which Daniel liked to do.

All through Daniel’s keep, Fernandez recollects a dialog he had with him about his time throughout the battle, a dialog that stunned him.

“He advised me that he may no longer shoot till he were shot at,” mentioned Fernandez. He recalled considering he had a brother “who used to be so dedicated to protecting our nation,” but everybody at house appeared so adverse to the entire battle.

“For him to come back house and inform me that’s what he used to be going thru, that he may no longer shoot till he used to be shot, in my thoughts, I nearly felt too, why are we over there?” mentioned Fernandez.

The want to stay those tales alive and get a greater working out of who those recipients have been is without doubt one of the issues Fernandez hopes folks remove from the showcase.

The Medal of Honor rests on a flag.
The Medal of Honor rests on a flag.Handout / Getty Pictures

“Like several different veterans, those are those who sacrificed the whole thing in protection of our nation,” mentioned Fernandez. “Presently in our lives, we want to learn how to stand in combination extra, and if those Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, who have been available in the market combating for our nation, have been right here, I don’t know what they’d be excited about the state of our nation and the way divided it’s.”

Anna V. Uremovich, an archivist on the Nationwide Hispanic Cultural Middle, mentioned it used to be vital for her crew, which integrated Patrick Trujillo who helped co-curate the showcase, to constitute the cultural and familial side of those courageous males’s lives.

“Latinos and Hispanic American citizens have an extended valued custom of army provider, whether or not they’re United States born or they arrive from every other nation,” mentioned Uremovich.

The showcase shall be on show till mid-January.

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