Silvestre S. Herrera, first Arizonan to win Medal of Honor

December 1, 2007

From the East Valley Tribune, November 9, 2007:

World War II veteran Silvestre S. Herrera, left, is applauded Thursday by Dr. Connie Mariano, veteran and former White House physician. Mariano gave a speech honoring veterans at a ceremony in Scottsdale.

“HEROES SALUTE: World War II veteran Silvestre S. Herrera, left, is applauded Thursday by Dr. Connie Mariano, veteran and former White House physician. Mariano gave a speech honoring veterans at a ceremony in Scottsdale.”
Photo by Bettina Hansen, For the Tribune

For Veterans Day this year, they gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona — mostly local veterans. Among them was World War II vet Silvestre Herrera, who fought in France.

One by one, veterans took their turn shaking hands and exchanging nods of respect with war hero Silvestre S. Herrera, 91, as he stood proudly wearing his Medal of Honor around his neck.

About 40 people gathered in 90-degree heat in north Scottsdale admiring a presentation of colors and listening in reverence to a high school band play in honor of the upcoming Veterans Day.

“It was very touching,” said Jackie Wolf, executive sales director for Classic Residence at Silverstone, where the event took place Thursday on a breezy patio.

It was fitting, somber and joyful all at once. A lot of veterans, paying honor to all veterans. [More below the fold]

Read the rest of this entry »


December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks sits down for freedom

December 1, 2007

Rosa Parks being fingerprinted, Library of Congress

Rosa Parks: “Why do you push us around?”

Officer: “I don’t know but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.”

From Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed, Quiet Strength
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994), page 23.

Photo: Mrs. Parks being fingerprinted in Montgomery, Alabama; photo from New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, Library of Congress

Today in History at the Library of Congress states the simple facts:

On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black passengers to relinquish seats to white passengers when the bus was full. Blacks were also required to sit at the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

Rosa Parks made a nearly perfect subject for a protest on racism. College-educated, trained in peaceful protest at the famous Highlander Folk School, Parks was known as a peaceful and respected person. The sight of such a proper woman being arrested and jailed would provide a schocking image to most Americans. Americans jolted awake.

Often lost in the retelling of the story are the threads that tie together the events of the civil rights movement through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. As noted, Parks was a trained civil rights activist. Such training in peaceful and nonviolent protest provided a moral power to the movement probably unattainable any other way. Parks’ arrest was not planned, however. Parks wrote that as she sat on the bus, she was thinking of the tragedy of Emmet Till, the young African American man from Chicago, brutally murdered in Mississippi early in 1955. She was thinking that someone had to take a stand for civil rights, at about the time the bus driver told her to move to allow a white man to take her seat. To take a stand, she remained seated. [More below the fold] Read the rest of this entry »


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