Sandia Park residents Gloria Chavez and her husband were recently in Washington, D.C., and decided to visit the Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has memorials to groups of soldiers who died during specific events, among them the Beirut Barracks Memorial and the Iran Rescue Mission Monument. Since the date of their visit coincided with the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico [for deeper reading, see our March article, mynm.us/bataandeath-march], Chavez asked a guide why there was no memorial to those who died during the Bataan Death March.
“I explained that we were from New Mexico,” says Chavez, “and that many of those on that march were from our state.” A bit confused, the guide checked with a docent who responded that only Americans are buried at the national cemetery (with a few exceptions) and that New Mexicans who died on the Bataan march would be buried in their home country of Mexico. The docent suggested that Mexico would therefore likely have a memorial to New Mexico’s Bataan soldiers.
Chavez was astounded, and politely informed him that these soldiers were from New Mexico, not old Mexico, and that New Mexico is one of the United States. The man shrugged. Chavez continued, “It seems to me that New Mexican soldiers should be recognized by Arlington National Cemetery as citizens of the USA, and further, the brave soldiers on that Bataan Death March should be nationally recognized with a memorial at Arlington, especially since many of their bodies were never recovered and they suffered terribly and died defending our country.”
Update: While editing this story, managing editor Candace Walsh called the Arlington National Cemetery, to confirm that no Bataan memorial existed there. She was transferred to the public affairs office, and the woman who answered the phone said "There is no Bataan memorial at Arlington National Cemetery." After the issue was published, Franklin C.H. Barrett, a representative of the cemetery, got in touch with Walsh. He informed her that indeed, there is a memorial, and sent a photo of it: a lovely tree with a commemorative plaque at its base. Walsh thanked him, and asked him to please do what he could to raise awareness among the staff about this memorial (and New Mexico's status as a U.S. state).
As Karyn Lujan was walking through a mall in San Antonio, Texas, a solicitor asked her if she wanted to complete a quick survey for $5. Lujan said “Sure!” The woman asked for her name and address. When Lujan said, “Santa Fe, New Mexico,” the woman replied, “Oh, wait, you don’t qualify to take this survey—you have to have a US address.” Lujan said, “Well, I do.” The woman looked at the address again and asked, “Is New Mexico in the US?” Lujan said, “Yes!” The woman decided to take Lujan’s word for it but added, “I had another one like you last week ... She was from Alaska.”
As Susan Boyles of Farmington attempted to buy a handbag on a website, she received the message “Only USA or Canada addresses are allowed for billing.” She began an online chat with a customer service representative. “I live in New Mexico, which has been a state since 1912 and has US zip codes. Please check a map. Surely I am not the only New Mexican who has tried to order from your organization.”
The reply: “Please note that we are currently unable to ship to P.O. Boxes or addresses outside the contiguous 48 states. We have recently implemented an address verification system. We use USPS to verify all shipping addresses to ensure proper delivery for our customers. If your address cannot be validated from the USPS website, this means that they do not provide service to your area and, regretfully, that we are unable to deliver merchandise to you. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Boyles typed, “I live in one of the contiguous 48 states. I got a USPS package on Tuesday. I give up. I will find a purse somewhere else. But do look at a map. You might learn something.”
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