Vicente Guerra is pictured during his time as a second lieutenant in the guerilla force fighting the Japanese in World War II. I went to the Los Angeles County Hall of Records to look for it, but when the archivist took the decades-old microfilm out of its box, it fell apart. Once identified, the Japanese would shoot. But you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at photographs of them from the time. When I think back on this story, it makes me angry. Or would he have made different choices if America had been kinder? The murder had suddenly shattered my view of the quintessential immigrant narrative — the story my parents embodied. But the main question tugging at me was what this all meant for the story of my family's history in America. He was feared and respected.
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