The image and the memory still haunts me, the memory of a poor immigrant mother wracked by pain, burying her young immigrant son who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States.
"Juan wanted to be a brain surgeon. As we viewed his life on a video showing clips of his life, it looked like he would have made it. He came so far. Juan was born in Reynosa, Mexico and from his humble beginnings, raised the hopes and dreams of his family. That's only a memory now, as I watch his family cry over his coffin. I pray that Juan's family finds some way to make sense of what has happened."
All this at a time when many in the United States joined the national chorus of disdain for a class of people like the deceased soldier and his grieving mother. Would those so quick to take offense at the effect immigrants have on our society be as quick to similarly send their child to the killing fields of Iraq?
Juan is gone now. Undoubtedly his family will endure. Like so many other immigrant families theirs is a struggle for survival against all odds. They no doubt must be aware of this country's growing anti-immigrant sentiment. Yet despite the ease that some in this country have in spewing forth hatred for people like this family, few critics will fully appreciate the sacrifice and contribution this small immigrant family gave to so many Americans.
May God grant us greater understanding and compassion to see their sacrifice.
David McLemore of the The Dallas Morning News carries a story of the young immigrant soldiers and their contribution to this country's war effort.