Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, American

One of the first fatalities of the war was Jose Gutierrez, age 22. Gutierrez made his way by himself on a 2,000 mile trek from Guatamala to southern California at age 16. In California, he was taken in by strangers, attended school, and dreamed of becoming an architect.
After 9/11 he put his dreams on hold and enlisted in the Marines, where he rose to the rank of Lance Corporal. According to one of the members of the family who took him in: “He wanted to give the United States what the United States gave to him. He came with nothing. This country gave him everything.”
Last week President Bush gave him the one thing he didn’t have when he died: American citizenship. This morning the Torrance Daily Breeze reports on the citizenship ceremony: “U.S. salutes Marine with citizenship.” The Los Angeles Times reported Lance Corporal Gutierrez’s death in a story including the quote above on March 24: “His new life in U.S. ends in Iraq.”

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