With the ongoing protests against providing temporary housing within an otherwise-empty Scottsdale hotel property (which I’d think would be good for the local economy), for legal asylum seekers complying with federal law, a news item about US Army Private Marcelino Serna, caught my eye today.
I wrote about Serna a couple of years ago, in the context of a Veteran’s Day comment criticizing the government for printing bilingual election materials.
In spite of his extensive decorations, Serna was denied a well-deserved Medal of Honor, for a variety of very thin reason which mostly boiled down to being Mexican, even though citizenship is not a requirement for the award.
Now, NBC’s Suzanne Gamboa reports of current efforts to upgrade Serna’s Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor.
It’s not all good news, but I’m hopeful that Serna–who died in 1992, aged 95–will be appropriately honored.
It’s worth noting that when Serna returned from the war, he became a US citizen. He would ultimately retire from humble employment at the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, where he had continued to serve his fellow veterans even in his civilian life.
I’m struck by this photo from Gamboa’s article, which shows an older Serna in a uniform from earlier times. His hands appear to be arthritic. His stoic expression belies his proud, straight posture, and the medals on his chest. I think he might be disappointed that we continue to argue the merits of embracing each others’ cultural heritage, but maybe also quietly proud of the efforts to better recognize his distinguished service and bravery, and that of his fellow soldiers and sailors.