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Looking Back: Proud to serve

January 12, 2016


Today in 1913, Joseph Ramirez was born. He faced down discrimination, became an engineer, fought in World War II, and took pride in his defense of his adopted county.


A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.


Joseph P. Ramirez, born on Jan. 12, 1913, built a fulfilling life despite the discrimination he faced from landlords, school officials, and potential employers. He worked his way through school to earn an engineering degree.

He joined the Army in 1942 and was part of a headquarters unit that landed in the Philippines shortly before Douglas MacArthur made his triumphant return.

Ramirez persevered after the war. He married and settled in Chicago, always proud of how he and other Mexicans fought for their adopted homeland in World War II.

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  1. i am grateful, we must always honor those whom have given for country!

    In doing i can live the life i have, where i have the freedom to do, and feel safe doing it..

  2. It’s always inspiring to learn about people who were not considered equal in the United States and yet they fought for our Country. Thank you for sharing their stories. True heroes.

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