Several of my relatives who served in the United States military are buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. In the past, I’m pretty sure I’ve told you El Paso is a huge military city. Since my grandfather served in the U.S. Army, my grandparents will also be buried here. Some of my friends and other relatives will also be buried here. Although I didn’t go with my grandparents and son today, I’ve had my share of visits to this cemetery. I’ve also been to my share of funerals there. I’m really disappointed I didn’t go today because it was a special occasion for several El Pasoans, including my grandparents. Unfortunately, I missed the buses they took to get there.
The Wall that Heals Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica was on display from Thursday through today. More than 58,000 names of Vietnam Veterans who were killed are displayed on the wall. The replica wall travels around the country for those who are unable to visit the actual wall in Washington D.C. I’ve always enjoyed hearing my grandparents stories so of course I asked them about today’s experience. My grandfather was happy he was able to locate the name of his childhood friend, Captain Roberto ‘Chito’ Samaniego (he was able to find his name with some assistance).
Captain Samaniego passed away on June 19, 1965 when the helicopter he was flying was shot down. He passed away at 29 years old. Him and my grandfather attended the same elementary and high school. My grandfather tells me about the times they played on the Jefferson High School varsity football team. He told me about the times they hung out in the neighborhood. Years after Captain Samaniego’s death, a residential street and Head Start campus were named in his honor here in El Paso.