Fifty-two years ago on Valentine’s day, a three-year-old boy boarded a small plane with his older brother, older sister, and mother. Unsure why Daddy wasn’t with them, he boarded at his mother’s direction and left behind a life he would barely remember.
This family was one of the quarter-million Cubans who had been welcomed to America by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s so-called “freedom flights.” These flights during the late 1960s and early ’70s accepted a combination of the lower and middle classes of Cuba who had lost jobs, livelihoods, family members, and rights to the Castro regime.
Arriving in America with little money, no husband, and three children, the young woman was determined to make a life for herself and her children in America. This woman was willing to risk her life and that of her children for the mere opportunity to succeed.
As she will tell you, the Cuban people have a grit comparable to no other’s. They