rom the Times:
He wrote to this mother often and sent money home almost every month, family members said. [...]

In a tape recording he left at his uncle's home before being deployed in January, Jose poured out his fears about what lay ahead for him in the Middle East.

Garibay said his goodbyes.

"I'm being called to represent and serve my country. I am being asked to serve my country," Urbano Garibay recalled hearing on the recording. "I don't know if I will return, and I want you to know that I love you and how much I appreciate the support and love you have given me over the years." [...]

On Monday night, word of Garibay's death -- first reported by KMEX-TV Channel 34 in Los Angeles -- came as a blow to one of his favorite high school teachers, Janis Toman.

She had received a letter from him just hours before. Toman was in the middle of preparing a "goodie package" of snacks for him.

"I want to defend the country I plan to become a citizen of," he wrote to her, and described his delight when he and the other troops received a steak dinner, Pepsi and ice cream recently. He sent her photos from the desert and described life in a 20-man tent.

Toman tutored Garibay on a variety of subjects for more than two years. She said he had gone into the military "to make a better life for himself."

Garibay's former football coach, Mike Bargas, said Garibay was proud to serve his country and frequently visited his old school in military uniform.

Were you acting that classy at age 21? I sure the hell wasn't.

Finally, for any of you who still equate Orange County with lily-white conservatism, or who lay awake at night fearing the "dual loyalty" of Latino immigrants, here's more from the OC Register:

Last year, 357 Orange County Latinos shipped out to boot camps -- more than double the 138 who joined the service in 1990. By comparison, the number of non-Hispanic white recruits from Orange County rose 10 percent to 627 during the same period. Latinos make up 30 percent of the county, and the population continues to grow rapidly.

Posted by at March 25, 2003 02:58 PM

im agree with you,as a woman latin I know the brave of my raze.jose gutierrez was a hero,like all the american soldiers in there,including my boyfriend luis.p

Posted by: lissete f at March 26, 2003 01:49 PM
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