Roswell, New Mexico is a small depressed city of about 40,000 people, located 200 miles distant from any other outpost of civilization on planet Earth. The main claim to fame of the community is flying saucers (remember "The Roswell Incident"?).
Nancy Lopez, the LPGA golfing hall of famer, grew up there. So did I. Nancy and I played more than a few rounds together when we were both learning the game in our early teens. She could outdrive me on the NMMI golf course by 100 yards even back then. She was a 'natural'. I wasn't. (But I still have a better short game than her. Nyah, Nanc.)
It gets hotter than the hinges of hell on the high desert of Roswell during the summer. Dry heat, my arse. 110 is still 110. Similar to the Baghdad blast furnace, in that regard.
The picture above? Used to be the Plains Theatre before UFO's were a hot commodity in Roswell. I saw a lot of movies there - single screen with a balcony for the lovers - and most probably I kissed my first girl in that theatre. Memory conveniently fades...
Anyway, like most communities in that area of the country, anglo surnames such as mine are in short supply. In the phone book for the 88201 zip code, you're much more likely to find a Garcia or a Montoya or Rocha than a Jones or Smith.
If you've followed ASZ for awhile, you'd know that I have an affinity for Hispanic culture, even though I'm definitely anglo. I love Puerto Rico. 'Mehico' is my second country. I've written about Cuba several times on these pages. My first girlfriend back in the raging hormone days was a chicana. It's easy to understand that my affinity for all things hispanic springs from my geographic and economic heritage, not my bloodlines.
Yes, I grew up in Roswell. Graduated high school there. Buried my dad there last year. My mother, who I buried this year (albiet a bit further west), was as enamoured of a well crafted squashblossom as she was of diamonds. So, this one hits a little bit closer to home than most.
Albuquerque Tribune Online:
ROSWELL - The mother of a Marine sergeant from Roswell who was killed during fierce fighting this week in Iraq says she doesn't believe going to war was for a good cause.A lot of Lila Lipscomb's are being created out there. Velina Sanchez is just the most recent. In the end, the war moms may be the most powerful voices quietly campaigning for regime change.
'And yes, our heroes have died in vain - and one of them is my son,' Velina Sanchez told KOB-Channel 4 while clutching a photo of Sgt. Moses Daniel Rocha in his dress uniform.
Rocha, 33, was fatally shot during fighting that erupted this week in Najaf, where U.S. helicopter gunships and fighter jets continue to pound Shiite Muslim insurgents."...
Gov. Bill Richardson said he was saddened by the death of Rocha, who leaves behind a young son.
"This is the second death in less than a week for the city of Roswell and again points out the tremendous sacrifice of New Mexicans in defending our nation in the war against terror," he said.
And, Bill? Governor Richardson? It's all a lie. One big stinkin', fetid lie. You know that as well as I do. Moses Daniel Rocha didn't die "defending our nation in the war against terror". He died for a stinkin', fetid lie.
Ms. Sanchez, I promise you, as long as I draw a breath, Danny didn't die in vain. El sacrificio de uno ahorra muchos.