For over 60 years, May 20 – the original Cuban Independence Day – has served as a reminder of what was lost in Cuba: liberties that many paid the ultimate sacrifice trying to regain. To this day, the Cuban people remain censored and abused by their own government, while much of the world tragically turns a blind eye.
In April 1961, the Cuban exile troops of Brigade 2506, which included my grandfather, embarked on a failed attempt to free their country from dictator Fidel Castro, who stripped their fellow citizens of their rights.
This group of men bravely attempted to give their homeland, their neighbors and their families the freedom we enjoy in America. This year – and especially on this day – just months after losing two of my grandparents, my heart aches thinking of these heroes and their loved ones who will never see their people freed.
But losing their homes and their country was only the beginning of their story. In America, they found freedom and a better, safer home for themselves and their children.
The story of my family fleeing Cuba is what drives my love of country and liberty. The determination of my grandfather’s generation to fight back and overcome adversity in pursuit of a better future for their children embodies the American Dream.