On February 22, 1918, south Texas teacher Jose de la Luz Saenz received a notice from President Woodrow Wilson that he was going to fight in France on behalf of the U.S. Army in World War I. He wrote the following letter to his Mexican-American students:
TO MY STUDENTS:
My dear students: This is definitely our last day of school. You will start your vacation once I have gathered the texts that the government has supplied us. Rest, and have fun. I hope you enjoy the long period that follows. You will be free of classes and the required study.
I cannot say the same for me. I do not know what the future holds, but I can assure you that I will witness grand events, a thousand and one yet unknown sights, and I hope to return to tell you everything. Next Monday, at eleven in the morning, I will become part of the militia that will defend our country.
Until now, I have used pencil and pen to wage trying battles for the educational advancement of our people. You will soon hear that I am holding a rifle in the very same trenches of France and upholding our people’s pride for the glory and honor of our flag.
I do not know if you will have to follow me. I hope not. But if you do, I hope that my example helps you to be brave and strong enough to free yourself from everything that is dear on earth — the sweet peace, your homes, and your families.
I am not going on an excursion. I know that the life that awaits me will be difficult., the most demanding that I will have experienced, but I do not think it will be as difficult as Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and his stay at Valley Forge. If it becomes just as difficult, so much the better, it will be a greater honor for our people. Long live Washington! Long live the start spangled banner! Long live our Raza!
— Jose de la Luz Saenz
(Luz would return after the war and was among the WWI veterans who would help found LULAC in 1929.)