LAREDO MORNING TIMES: Honoring heroes
Brothers in Zapata get recognition from Cuellar
In commemoration of Memorial Day, six brothers from Zapata were honored for their heroic efforts during World War II by Congressman Henry Cuellar as well as county and state officials at a community-wide event held outside the Zapata County Courthouse on Monday morning.
In March, Cuellar recognized brothers Teodoro, Leopoldo, Antonio, Anselmo, Filiberto Jr. and Jose Manuel Treviño with a speech on floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
He presented six American flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol to the families of the Treviño brothers who have passed away, and personally presented one to the last remaining brother, Leopoldo Treviño.
“Nos llamaron y lo contestamos para servir la patria,” Leopoldo Treviño said. “We were called upon and we responded in order to serve our country.”
He added he was “very happy” to be attending the recognition ceremony and appreciative that his efforts and those of his brothers are still being remembered even 70 years after the end of the Second World War.
Standing at about 6 feet tall, in a black suit and tie, 91 year-old Leopoldo Treviño was accompanied by his wife of 63 years Emma V. Treviño and son Leo Treviño Jr.
“I’m happy he was able to see this and receive this honor, not only for himself but for his brothers who have died,” Leo Treviño Jr. said.
Four generations of Treviños attended the ceremony.
David Garza, Leopoldo Treviño’s grandson, said what fascinated him about his grandfather’s story was that all six of the Treviño brothers responded to the call of duty.
As Anselmo Treviño Jr., son of the late Anselmo Treviño, said in his speech at the ceremony, “The Treviño family’s simple life was disrupted by the agony of waiting for their six sons to be called to war, one after one. For those of us who have lost a son or a daughter, we can almost visualize the aguish and mental stress of the thought in losing not one but six sons. I can’t imagine how my grandparents lived with this emotional stress for over four years.”
Ana Gonzalez, Vangie Anderson and Vielma Treviño, daughters of Antonio Treviño, said their father was their hero, their “John Wayne.” He passed away in 2011.
“When he was in the nursing home, he would pace back and forth down the hallway, and he’d say he was patrolling,” Anderson said, laughing.
Gonzalez said she had wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Army.
“It seemed something that would be exciting to me and something that I really, really wanted to do, but because I was a young girl, my dad said he did not want me to go after being through what he went through,” Gonzalez said.
The Treviño brothers were born to Filiberto and Luisa Cuellar Treviño in Zapata.
According to a press release from Cuellar’s office, each brother served unique and valuable roles in a global context during the war.
“Teodoro Treviño, the eldest, served in the Medical Corps in Bombay, India, as a trained surgical technician and treated wounded American soldiers.
Leopoldo Treviño served in the Field Artillery and was stationed in Okinawa while preparing for the invasion of Japan. Antonio Treviño served in the Coastal Artillery and took part in the invasion of Normandy and the invasion of France, Belgium, the Rhineland and into Germany.
Anselmo served in the Engineer Corps for five and a half months before being honorably discharged due to a leg injury. Filiberto Jr., served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. While at sea, his ship was harassed by German submarines.
He was also stationed in England where he unloaded bombs and ammunition from trucks preparing for the invasion of Normandy and was part of the liberation of Berlin.
And Jose Manuel, the youngest of the brothers, served in the infantry and was part of the occupation forces in Berlin that oversaw the liberation of the concentration camps and the release of the American prisoners of war.”
Cuellar said the brothers’ efforts were a testament of the importance rural communities such as Zapata played in the war.
“These brothers had an immense sense of family and are an inspiration to us all.
Their courage and dedication to country are timeless examples of what it really means to be an American.
We honor the Treviño brothers today and always for their many sacrifices,” Cuellar said.