Yolanda Reyes (YR) and George Rincon (GR)
YR: We came here when he was 5 years old. And Diego started speaking English faster than we did. He was often letting me know, ’When I finish high school, I’m going to join the Army.’
GR: Before he went to Iraq he got the green card. But he said to me, ’Dad, don’t do the citizenship –
YR: – Citizenship.
GR: – Until I return. We’ll do it together.’
YR: The last time we spoke, he said, ’I wrote you a letter, do not open it if you’re not ready.’ A week later, I got the letter, and it was different from the rest. He was talking about this feeling that he had that he was going to die. He asked for forgiveness for anything wrong that he had done, and he said that he loves me. This letter was like a bucket of icy water.
GR: And he died March 29.
YR: I remember I was sitting on the steps and the chaplain came into the house.
GR: He said, ’Mr. Rincon, I’m sorry. Your son is dead.’
YR: I didn’t believe what they told us, so I called the Army and I asked for pictures of his body. I looked at the pictures and I destroyed them.
GR: Sometimes I wake up in the morning thinking that this is a nightmare, and he’s coming back. But I had my baby for 19 years and it was a blessing.
YR: Because of what happened to Diego there’s always that question, What if we hadn’t come here? But at least he was doing something with honor, with pride. He was doing something for America.
GR: And he got citizenship the day of the funeral. That is — it’s something that… it’s a piece of paper, but it means a lot for us. He always will be our hero.