This memorial website was created in the memory of my father, Rodolfo Torres, Jr. who was born in La Pryor, Texas on January 14, 1941 and passed away in McAllen, TX on December 12, 2007 at the age of 66 after a very courageous battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dad was an amazing man that will be missed by many. He leaves an amazing legacy. He will always be remembered.
Memorial Day at Fort Sam was beautiful. Every headstone had a flag and there were many cars driving through the cemetary. There was also a service to honor fallen soldiers. The boys are so proud of their grandpa and his accomplishments.
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN , not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN , not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN , not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN , not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN , not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag,
It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag.
ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM OH LORD, AND LET
PERPETUAL LIGHT SHONE UPON THEM.
Those we love remain with us...
In the whisper of the wind
In a soft rain that falls from Heaven
In each sunrise
In every single star that lights the night sky
In every single memory that we hold within our hearts.
~ Mary Chandler Huff
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
The measure of a man is in the lives he's touched.
SOON TO BE GONE
By A MILITARY DOCTOR
I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio ,and they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military personnel.San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.
Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.
Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama , I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.
I saw 'Saving Private Ryan.' I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.
Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.
There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a 'hard stick.' As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, 'Auschwitz.' Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person w ho'd seen unspeakable suffering.
Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturi ng had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.
I was th ere the night M/Sgt.Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Meda l of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.
The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders,
the survivor of the Bataan Death March,
the survivor ofOmaha Beach ,
the 101 year old World War I veteran.
The former POW held in f rozenNorth Korea,
The former Special Forces medic - now with non-operable liver cancer,
the former Viet Nam Corps Commander.
I remember these citizensï
I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.
I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later gen erations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.
It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.
My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must 'Earn this.'
Written By CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D. US Army
If it weren't for the United States military,
there'd be No United States of America
I will be adding more to Dad's website over the next couple of weeks. There is so much more to say about such a wonderful person that did so much in his lifetime. I have many dates to get from Mom and Dad's house and many pictures to scan. So please continue to check back. Thank you so much for visiting this site. It gives Mom and I such comfort to read your words and get feedback. God bless you all!
For more information on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, its early warning signs, treatment and prevention visit:
www.copd-international.com This was one of Dad's favorite websites.
To view the website of another fallen hero, who was also a Ranger please visit:
To view Dad's LRRP Tribute page, please visit: