Feb 5, 2008

A Beautiful Ceremony For A Hometown Hero

My appreciation to all the veterans, dignitaries, friends and citizens who turned out for the beautiful presention ceremony of the Texas Medal of Honor to the family of Alfredo "Freddy" Gonzalez. Beginning with the military flyover the event was one for the history books for the growing but still small South Texas city of Edinburg. Surounded by Veterans from across the Valley, Doila Gonzalez (the mother of Freddy Gonzalez) heard speeches about the service and sacrifice of her young son. Following a fitting speech by Texas Governor Rick Perry and a reading of the legislative resolution by the Commander of the USS Freddy Gonzalez, the medal was presented to Ms. Gonzalez.

Ever shy and humble Doila Gonzalez asked Coach Fred Ackers, who forty some years ago coached Freddy Gonzalez, to come forward to speak on her behalf. He recalled the determination and strong character of the young Gonzalez. When the speeches came to a close there was no doubt of the appreciation and love this community has for Doila Gonzalez and her son.

After the ceremony I joined Ms. Gonzalez, some of the visiting military officers and members of Freddy's platoon at the Edinburg VFW for a smaller gathering. I had a few private moments to ask what Sgt. Gonzalez was like as they knew him. They described a quiet man who cared for the members of his platoon. "He was squared away" one Veteran told me who came in from Los Angeles to remember his friend.

Immediately after some of the officers from the USS Gonzalez, Ms. Gonzalez and myself traveled to the museum to visit the display on Freddy Gonzalez. It was a return to the display case that years before had inspired me to file the legislation on behalf of Sgt. Gonzalez.

All in all, a wonderful day remembering the better ideals of our nature displayed by the extraordinary sacrifice of a South Texas soldier.

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