On this Memorial Day, I am compelled to pay tribute to members of my family who have given so much and sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and to protect this great country of ours.
All were born and lived in New Mexico, two were born in Chacon, New Mexico and the rest raised and educated in Albuquerque.
One gave the ultimate sacrifice during time of war.
My father Paul Dinelli and my Uncle Pete Dinelli, for whom I was named after, both served in the US Army during World War II when the United States went to war with Italy, Germany and Japan.
I am compelled to point out that the United State was at war with Italy during World War II.
My father and uncle were first generation born Americans and the sons of Italian immigrants who settled in Albuquerque in the year 1900 to live the American dream.
My Uncle Pete Dinelli was killed in action when he stepped on a land mine.
My father Paul Dinelli was a disabled American Veteran when he returned to Albuquerque after World War II.
My uncles Fred Fresques and Alex Fresques, my mother’s two brothers, also saw extensive combat in World War II.
My Uncle Alex Freques served in England and was in the Air Force.
My uncle Fred Freques saw extensive action in the US Army infantry to the point that he refused to talk about what he saw to to anyone. After the war, my Uncle Fred returned to Albuquerque and raised a family in Barelas where over the years he was active in the “Golden Gloves” and the Barelas Community Center.
My father in law, George W. Case, who passed away just 3 years ago at age 93, served in the United States Navy during World War II and saw action while serving on a destroyer.
My father in law George Case was so proud of his service that he wore a World War II Veterans cap every day the last few years of his life.
After the war, my father in law George Case returned to Albuquerque was married to my mother in law for 50 years, raised a family of 4 girls.
George eventually owed a liquor store for a few years and then went on to build, own and operate the Old Town Car wash and was in the car wash industry for a number of years.
My nephew Dante Dinelli, was born and raised in Albuquerque and joined the service a few years after graduating from Cibola High School.
Dante served 20 + years in the US Navy, retired as a Chief Petty Officer and to this day still works in a civilian capacity for the Navy.
My two nephews, Matthew Barnes and Brandon Barnes, the sons of my younger sister, were born and raised in Albuquerque and went to Bosque Prep.
Both Mathew and Brandon are currently Captains in the United States Marine Corps and are climbing the promotion ladder in the Marine Corps.
My nephew Captain Brandon Barnes is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.
My nephew Captain Matthew Barnes graduated from UNM with honors and served a tour in Afghanistan.
To all the wonderful and courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our country to protect and secure the promise of freedom and the ideals upon which the United States was founded upon, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I thank you for your service to our Country.
Your service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.
God bless you all and God Bless this great country of ours!