First Latino Blue Angel pilot highlights Island Veterans Day celebration

Special to the PRESS

This year, the city of South Padre Island scheduled a weekend-long Veterans Day celebration from Nov. 9 – 12, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  As part of the celebration, a luncheon was held Saturday at the South Padre Island Convention Centre honoring local vets and featuring distinguished guest speakers.

The weekend’s rainy weather could not dampen the spirits of those at the Convention Centre on Saturday afternoon, which featured food donated by the Hilton Garden Inn and Suites, entertainment provided by local band Pelican West, bagpipers from local restaurant Lobo del Mar, and a special commemorative Purple Heart cake from Karla’s Catering.

After a color guard presentation by the SPI fire and police departments and opening remarks from Michael Flores, interim director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mayor Dennis Stahl, and former Mayor Bob Pinkerton, guest speaker Al Cisneros addressed the crowd and spoke eloquently about his time in service. Cisneros served as a U.S. Navy pilot.

Cisneros and Pinkerton were childhood friends in Brownsville, but Cisneros quietly noted early on in his remarks that, “I was born in Brownsville, but I grew up in Vietnam.”

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1 comment

    • Paul A. Duron, Col. USA Ret on August 23, 2020 at 6:41 pm
    • Reply

    I was an admirer of the Blue Angels since I was 10 years old and I saw them perform at MCAS El Toro 1967. I wanted to join the Navy and become a Navy pilot. Unfortunately I didn’t qualify because I didn’t have 20/20 vision. I chose my other dream and became a physician. I continued to see the Blue Angels whenever I could. This became easy when I went to medical school. My school UCI Medical School was nearby El Toro. I joined the military the Army and retired recently as a Colonel. I remembered reading about Lt Al Cisneros the first Hispanic Blue Angel pilot. Made me very proud since I am Latino as well.

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