May 26, 2000
The ghosts of the past come back to hunt us in the present. Memorial Day is a day of Remembrance. We remember the ghosts of a long forgotten past that long ago died in the mountains and deserts of a continent that lay far across the uncharted oceans. They were so vast, that the ancient mariners thought the world ended at the waters edge. Fishermen, traders, and mariners of long forgotten armadas of our ancient home world, the Iberian Peninsula, sailed into these uncharted waters to fish, explore, & trade on trade routes established since the time of the ancient Greeks.
Eventually, sailors of the Iberian Península encountered a vast land mass that came to be known as the "Tierra Nueva." Later it would be marked in the sailing charts as the "Americus" Continent. Nueva España bent on exploration, conquest, and expansion of its home world sent fearless sailors, settlers, Caballeros, and soldiers to stake a claim on this land in the name of the King and Queen of Spain. These adventurers traveled throughout the vast lands of what one day would become North America. They built Fuertes (Forts), established their rule over the indigenous tribes, established ranches and begin the civilization of North America.
One of these fearless soldiers of the Spanish Crown was Teniente Juan Lopez. He came with the contingent from the area of Spain now named the "Extramadura." He was the second in command at the Fuerte in what is now Albuquerque New Mexico. Eventually he was sent to build a fort at what is now Chamberino, near the border of what is now La Isleta Tejas and New Mexico. After pacifying the area, he sent for his well bred Señorita from his home town and married her in Chamberino New Mexico. Her last name was Burandia. They started the long line of ancestors in what is now America, 300 years before the Mayflower made land fall on the American continent.
It is on such a day of Remembrance that the ghosts of my Hispanic past come to mind. Our family has like many others with Hispanic roots that has fought in every war in defense of this country... Simply because we know no other home. This is our home. We were the founders, settlers and defenders of this vast continent that stretched from the frozen lands of the northern hemisphere to the tip of Chile.
Centuries have gone by, we now live in vastly different times. But the foot prints of our ancestors are still imprinted in the sands of time. It is hurtful on Remembrance Day or Memorial Day, that the Hispanic and his later descendants are still considered strangers in their own land. Forgotten and derided. The souls of our ancestors in these times come back to haunt us. Their souls cry out that their deaths should not have been in vain. On Memorial Day, it is the Hispanic who is always missing in the seats of honor and whose past is forgotten and disrespected.