New display in Bastrop highlights Texan Latinos in WWII

A free exhibition focusing on Latino Texans during WWII has opened in Bastrop.

The exhibit, titled "Images of Valor: US Latinos and Latinas in WWII," is a series of panels showcasing the stories and contributions of Latino veterans.

"There's a very deep history for Latinos that's not always told. You want people to see this exhibit and see they are very important to our history, our Texas history, our natural history," says ret. Chief Master Sergeant Ed Hidrogo, who served in the US Air Force and is part of that history.

Looking at this exhibit brought out the memories and stories for Hidrogo, like some involving President John F. Kennedy whom he worked with through Air Force One.

"We got to know him, he was such a beautiful, he would come down. Most presidents stayed on there and let the pilot approach, but Kennedy would come on down and shoot the bull there while the pilots got ready," said Hidrogo.


By the 1960s, Hidrogo would give the Air Force One pilots weather briefings, so he knew Lyndon B. as well. Hidrogo served 31 years in the Air Force, including in WWII and Korea.

He passed along some wisdom he'd learned in that time.

"In the end it's this, this and this and the good lord and your mom and dad and your brothers and sisters....That's what you call a colony of life within the family," said Hidrogo.

He believes all the veterans here are part of that larger family. Over half a million Latinos served in WWII.

Nicole DeGuzman with the Bastrop County Historical Society wants them recognized. "I think it's very important to tell those stories they haven't always been told, bring it to the forefront because it is imperative to all of our history," she said.

This display is in the Bastrop Museum and Visitor Center through August 26.

"This has been a really well received exhibit we are so excited about it," said DeGuzman. "People coming from all over, it's free, so anybody can come to the museum and see this exhibit."

This exhibit was created by Texas Humanities.