Veteran Shares Christmas Memory after Coming Home from War
PHARR – An 86-year-old war veteran recalled what it was like coming home from the war during Christmas in the 1950s.
U.S. Army Sgt. Agripin Valderaz said there’s nothing like being at home for Christmas with family.
“I had a very poor Christmas when I was a little boy. Nine in the family and one worker, my dad,” he said.
At his retirement home in Pharr, they built a gingerbread home for Christmas this year. He said his mother used to make them from scratch.
“One thing I can’t grasp from my mom and dad, they were both illiterate. She had no recipes. She had nothing. Just her mind, that’s all she had,” Valderaz said.
They grew up at an old farmhouse in Mercedes, they had 700 acres. Everything the family ate was homemade, grown or picked from the fields.
“I don’t remember every having gone to bed hungry,” he said.
The family worked in the fields, every day of the year including Christmas.
“No holidays, when holidays came you took half a day off,” he said.
When the time, Valderaz traveled across the globe to serve in the military. He was stationed in Korea and came home in 1952 to spend the holidays with his family.
“My dad answered the door. Everybody was there. We were a close family. He kept us all together,” he recalled.
The veteran didn’t speak much about his sacrifices. He simply said war was hell. Although, when he came home he did bring pieces of the war with hm.
“Because after some of the places I was, I thought I wasn’t gonna make it back,” he said.
But in 1952, the sergeant did make it back home to his family.
“It was the best Christmas,” he said.
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