World War II veteran couldn’t dissuade him from joining the Army. Last year the staff sergeant went to Iraq.
This story appeared June 20, 2004, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times and in newspapers across the nation.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | Associated Press Writer
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Esequiel Perez never bragged about his service in World War II. If anything, the soft-spoken veteran downplayed his role.
“I didn’t go into too much combat or anything,” says Perez, 77.
Yet his children — Yolanda, Rosa Anna, Sandra, Joel, Debra, Hector and Zeke — grew up knowing that their father had done his part to defend the world, and why.
In the Perez family, soldiers’ sacrifice was honored and the nation’s freedom celebrated. Memorial Day and the Fourth of July were times for reverence. When the children erected a flag pole in the front yard, Esequiel welcomed it — but warned that the Stars and Stripes must not touch the ground and should be illuminated if flown at night.
“That’s how proud my dad is of this country,” said Rosa Anna Garza, 48.
He also wanted an easier life for his children than he had — he still had nightmares involving foxholes and blames grenades for his hearing problems — so he never pushed them to join the military.
For No. 6 child Hector, though, the Army beckoned.