During Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Eduardo Cavazos Garza, who served as a combat engineer during the Vietnam War.
Eduardo Cavazos Garza spent his childhood years in the small town of El Indio, Texas. His mother was a craftsman, and his father worked hard to become one of the first Latino teachers in Texas. He taught math, science, and history to seventh and eighth graders in the local education system.
After deploying to Vietnam as a combat engineer, he assisted infantryman and operated explosives. He wrote letters home to his mother, sister and a young woman named Diane McBroom. While in Vietnam, men found their only purpose in serving and struggled with the idea of returning to “the world,” a term for the U.S. He then took a rest and recuperation vacation to Australia. Vietnam shaped his life, but he was ready to return home to “the world” and find his purpose as a “new man.”
When Garza returned home, he married McBroom, who joined him on his final assignment to West Germany. They traveled around Europe and returned home to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he used the GI Bill to attend college. After this marriage ended, he visited his daughter as often as he could. He had four more children from his second and third marriages, and like his own father, he was not afraid to tell his children he loved them.
He worked for the then-Veterans Administration hospital for 23 years. His first job with the VA was an escort, which consisted of completing tasks for doctors and moving bodies to the morgue. While doing this, he would personally bless these deceased Veterans.
Garza struggled with PTSD, but instead of working towards being a “new man,” he worked to find inner peace. He was active in the Chicano Rights Movement. He also worked to solve the education inequalities that Mexican Americans faced. Garza joined a nondenominational worship group, named Celebration Circle. Lastly, he enjoyed creating art. He became a part time actor in the San Antonio film scene and started the Jazz Poets Society of San Antonio in 2006.
His advice to be at peace is to “take time to know what you want.”
Thank you for your service!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Writer: Hannah Nelson
Editor: Rachel Falconer and Julia Pack
Fact checker: Caroline Seyer
Graphic artist: Katie Rahill