Juan M. Escobar
My family has been in South Texas since 1753. In 1972, after serving a tour of duty in Vietnam as a United States Marine, I was stationed in Washington, D.C. with the Presidential Honor Guard. My duties were mostly funerals. It was in late July of that year, that Senator Ellender from Lousiana passed on and I, along with eight other military personnel were assigned to escort his body back Houma, Lousiana for burial. After the funeral we were told and ordered to return back to Washington on board the Congressional delegation's airplane. I was the last person to board the plane and went all the way to the back were I set next to Senator Ted Kenedy. He told me "Sit down Sgt. and enjoy yourself, unbutton your coat. I see that you were wounded in Vietnam." I said "Yes Sir." He than said "where are you from" and I said that I was from Texas. He than asked "Where in Texas?" and I responded that I was from South Texas. He surprised me when he said: "do not tell me from Starr County." I said "Yes, Sir." He went on to tell me that he had been in Starr County in '68 during the Onion Fields Strike led by the United Farm Workers and Tony Orindien. I relaxed and enjoyed a 2 or 1 1/2 hour chat with him all the way back to D.C.
Over the years I tried to visit him, to see if he remembered the occassion, but I never was able too do so. I left the U.S. Marine Corps in 1973, went to college and became a teacher and a coach. Later I joined the U.S. Border Patrol, and I served in two different school boards. I retired in 2003 and became a member of the Texas House of Representatives. My condolences to the Kenedy Family for the loss of a great American and a true hero to us in South Texas.