Our father’s name was Asencion Gonzalez, and everyone knew him as Chencho.

He retired from working for CPL where he was foreman of the line crew. He was a father to me and my four sisters and our baby brother. He was married to our mother Geneieve L. Gonzalez for over 50 years.

And, Pop was a survivor of the 2nd wave on D-Day in World War II. He was most proud of having served his country and was so very proud of being a Veteran. He only told me a few stories of what he went through that week they landed on Normandy Beach. I tried to get him to tell me more but he would look at me and somehow I felt he did not want to recollect all the things that happened when they landed.

I have seen many movies and documentaries that describe that pivotal day and week but Pop would only say “not even close.” Men that boasted of how they were going to be heroes that were turned into crying little boys screaming for their mommies. War is hell, Pop would say to us. War is Hell.

I am sitting on the bench at our Mom and Pop’s cemetery plot here in Hebbronille, Texas. Remembering all this and still being so proud of our Poppa. Never forget and I never will. For there are so many younger kids that take our freedom for granted and do not care about the men and women that went to fight the war, the Big One.

Today I came to thank my Pop and all the rest of the men and women who were brave enough to fight for our freedom. And I will keep coming back year after year to do so. Never forget and I never will!

Pop, today I salute you and your comrades for being so dam brave and to thank God for bringing you back from all that hell. For if you had not survived my sisters, brother and I would not be here on this our beautiful mother earth.

Our Veterans deserve so much better. We as Americans should voice our concerns to all who will listen. We need to help all our Veterans who are going through hard times. Never Forget, people. Never Forget.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was written by Shon A. Gonzalez son of Asencion and sales manager for the Rio Grande Guardian. The photos were taken by Shon A. Gonzalez also.