MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE
Army veteran and author reminisces about Christmas during deployment
By Nubia Reyna
Sitting at one of the tables of his Christmas-decorated house, Army veteran and author Pablo Coronado shared the stories of the holidays he spent while deployed in Germany back in 1960 to let other veterans know that they are not alone.
“I hope that we can do something nice, it seems like everything I get in the paper, everything is so negative,” he said. “Negative this, killings here, babies that were stolen and it’s not the same thing; if we can get something that catches the eyes of veterans that are going through the same thing; they are not alone.”
His book “A Time to Remember: Letters Home” is a collection of letters he wrote back to his wife while deployed. In those letters he shared how he felt while being away from home during Christmas.
“Dearest Darling, It’s Thursday and I got mail from you and from home. Well, Christmas is very close, but I feel very empty and with no feeling. We are just doing what we are supposed to do and that is to protect the communist border. … I am hoping that everyone will have a nice Christmas and a happy new year,” Coronado wrote in a letter dated Dec. 22, 1960.
In several other letters, the book author and former lecturer at the University of Texas-Texas Southmost College, said he felt very unhappy during Christmas and that he wanted to be back home with his wife. Even though he did not have children at the time of the letters, he imagined a future filled with children and the “children of his children.” Now, Coronado and his wife, Gloria, have six children and more than 10 grandchildren.
“Today is Sunday (Christmas Day) … all I want is for this day to be over. Very soon I’ll be out of this rotten hole. I will miss this Christmas and I will (be) lonely too. But time will go by (and) I’ll be thinking about our own (future) children around the Christmas tree and you and me together,” he wrote in a letter dated Dec.25, 1960.
The book author said he understands how other veterans feel during the Christmas season because he has never been able to be the same person he was before being deployed. He said every Christmas he remembers a story of when he shared cookies with his squad in Germany.
“I received a box of cookies from home around this time and I opened the box at night in front of my squad when we were in the barracks and they would sit like kids around me on the floor because they wanted Christmas cookies,” Coronado said laughing.
His wife, Gloria, said she is very happy that nowadays during the Christmas season the whole house gets full with the little ones running around and everyone eating together celebrating. She said there are more than 20 family members who go to the house during this time.
“We are more than 20, including the in-laws and everything, we don’t need to invite people from outside,” she said.