Because of World War II
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
LAST December 18 was my 75th birthday. I’m very thankful to God and proud that I still reached this diamond age which my cycling and age contemporaries were unable to attain. Yes, I was born after the second world war, produced by a Mexican hombre named Jesus Rivera Garcia of Pharr, Texas and a Filipina lass Adelaida Morales Aquino of Barrio Buenlag, Mangaldan, Pangasinan. According to my father, a few days after my migration to America, he personally met my mother when the American soldiers constructed a casual camp in Barrio Buenlag, my place until now. After many days of courting my mother, a secret love affair occurred and eventually cohabitation ensued and that was the start of my life. My father was a bachelor with 23 years of age while my mother was legally separated from her husband. Her situation was the main reason why they could not get married although both were deeply in love as there’s no divorce law in the Philippines, until now. My mother was in her conception stage when my father and his co-American soldiers returned to the U.S. which completely saddened my mother. Although emotionally drained, she accepted her fate in the end.
I don’t like war because war kills a lot of human beings. But in this case, I cannot but thank the war because without the war in 1944, for sure I would not have seen the light of the universe today.
My cumpadre and fellow columnist in this paper, Al S. Mendoza (former sports writer and columnist of the famous national newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer) calls me “war time baby” during my cycling heydays especially when I won the first of my three triumphs in 1973 Tour of Luzon. Some sports columnists called me ‘anak sa labas’, still some broadcasters called me ‘hijo de bastardo,’ a cruel Spanish-Filipino lingo that almost knocked me down in the beginning. But I just shrugged them off in the long run and harbored no rancor in my heart because what they said was the truth and I know how to accept the reality. Anyway, it wasn’t my fault that my parents could not marry and I believe I was not the only one born out-of-wedlock during the last world war. Unlike others in the same status like me, I still consider myself luckier than the others because I was acknowledged by my father, petitioned me to migrate to Uncle Sam’s land 32 years ago and enabled me to live in America for 16 years, including the U.S protectorate island Guam where I acquired my U.S. citizenship.
My father boasted to his friends and our relatives during the welcome party he prepared for my homecoming on April 22, 1978. “I’m the only G.I. of all the G.I.s that went to the Philippines during the second world war that produced a national sports champion,” that of course drew laughter from the crowd. He was right and I’m proud of him, too. Not only as my father, but for being generous, caring and thoughtful fellow.
Yes, because of the second world war, I was born, became a cycling champ, and now your columnist in The PUNCH.
I have done what you guys have asked me to do… to give you a synopsis of my life. Keep on reading us, I’ll keep on punching.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. PSALMS 37: 9
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