Of the veterans in my family, the most important of them, to me, is this one:
|My father, Wilfredo Ortiz. He still has that smile.|
His service was long before my birth and even a bit before my older brother's birth. I am thankful for my father, for his service, and for God bringing him home.
Thank you, Dad.
In my mother's family, her two oldest brothers served, both in the U.S. Navy.
|My uncle, Boanerges 'Speedy' Gonzalez (d. 10/1987).|
|My uncle, Moses Gonzalez. He also still has that smile.|
Thank you, Speedy.
My uncle Moe is a father of three. He is the awesomest stereotypical
obnoxious Giants, Yankees, Knicks, Rangers fan, and I love him dearly. Whenever I go to New Jersey to visit family, I always look forward to beating him at dominoes.
Thank you, Moe.
My father was not the only one in his family to serve. It would be amazing in a family of 18 children to be the only one. He was one of five to serve.
Four came home alive.
|My uncle Jose did not.|
JOSE ALBERTO ORTIZ-BURGOS
CPL - E4 - Army - Regular
173rd Airborne Brigade
Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Apr 14, 1968
Casualty was on Jul 23, 1968
In BINH DINH, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
OTHER EXPLOSIVE DEVICE
Body was recovered
Panel 51W - Line 44
He was killed by a landmine. He was 19 years old.
I've thought about the things that I could say about my uncle Jose, but the truth is I never knew him directly. I was only able to observe the influence his loss had on my father's life deep into my own lifetime. Everyone who knew him speaks highly of him.
Thanks to the internet, I have someone else who can speak for me. The following was posted to The Wall on the 41st anniversary of his death by one of Jose's Army brothers.
Brother in Vietnam
FOREVER IN MEMORY
Hey Jose, just found this site and I wanted to say I miss you Brother. It took me a long time to find out your real name, we all had nicknames, yours was Chico and since I was Irish mine was Mac. I found your real name when I went to the WALL. All I knew was that you and Bobby were hit the same day, Bobby didn't make it either Jose, but the other four did. I loved you my Brother, you and Bobby and Fox will forever be in my memory and not a day goes by that I don't think of you. We had a love for each other that no one can understand...unless they were there...we had each other. I will forever keep you in my memory.
Aug 14, 2009
I never met Jose, but I am thankful for his service and his sacrifice. I never met Bobby, but I am thankful for his service and his sacrifice. I have not met Fox or Michael McBride, but I am thankful for their service.
Thank you, God, for all my veterans.