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A Patriot After All: The Story of a Chicano Vietnam Vet by Juan Ramirez

By Juan Ramirez

Juan Ramirez constantly believed he could die in Vietnam. As starting to be up within the San Francisco region within the early Sixties, "Nam was once there, simply over the horizon, just like the far-off thump of artillery. His father and uncles had served in international battle II, one other uncle in Korea. quite a few cousins had enlisted. At nineteen, Ramirez determined to embody the warfare. In 1968, the 12 months of the Tet offensive, Ramirez joined the U.S. marines. bloody excursions later, Ramirez survived, yet at colossal expense. two times wounded, undesirably discharged, and suffering from survivor's guilt, Ramirez surveys the toll of Vietnam on flesh and spirit during this alluring memoir. Ramirez tells his tale in a voice hardly ever heard from the struggle, that of a Chicano soldier. by means of tracing his roots, and exploring the cultural pressures and social demons that weighed on his family members and group, Ramirez bargains an unflinching examine the autumn and redemption of 1 Mexican American veteran.

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I know he loved me. There were good times, too. But it was that bad. My father worked hard and got his chance. He rose quickly in his job, getting better pay and more responsibility. As the promotions came, so did the new cars, television, hi-fi, bicycles, toys, and outings. His work became all consuming. Life was better in some ways but much more stressful in others. He would take it out on his children and his wife, and she would in turn take it out on us. My mother could become a frightening person herself.

My only solace was visiting Grandma Ramirez as often as possible and playing with my sister Evelyn. "Evie" was a good sport. Traditionally she might be called a tomboy, a term I don't believe describes her accurately. She is two years younger than me, and she always struggled to keep up with me. Evie would try almost anything, no matter how difficult or dangerous. I would marvel at her tenacity and determination to hang with me. And it never felt like competition, more like bonding or camaraderie.

Dad was on a landing support transport (LST), one of those ships that opens at the bow like a giant whale's mouth to let trucks, tanks, and men file onto the beach. Dad doesn't talk much about anything deep, but I grew up hearing a lot about his war years. Although Dad's World War II and navy stories are mixed with resentment and pain, he is very proud of his service. I believe those times were a rite of passage for him; they also marked the end of a delusion he harbored about American society.

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