John Sanchez was born in 1924 to Mexican parents who
came to the
During World War II, he enlisted to serve his
country, but, not happy with the limitations of being nearly blind in one eye
and therefore not eligible to be with the combat troops, he persuaded a key
person in the army to list him as having 20/20 vision so he could become a
paratrooper. A few months later, he was part of the 101st Airborne landing in
There are many medals and military distinctions on his wall testifying to the bravery of his actions, but he is too humble to talk much about this period of his life.
Once the war was over, Sanchez attended the
Later he was accepted to law school in
Sanchez still lives in
To honor his cultural heritage and to follow the style of his father, he replaced the conventional dark suits and white shirts worn by every other lawyer in the state with clothes of vibrant colors. John Sanchez was, and perhaps still is, the only attorney in this country who wore a pink suit, pink shirt, pink tie and pink shoes to court.
But it wasn't the bright clothes that made him memorable in a courtroom. According to his friend and fellow attorney John Squire Drendel, it was his legal skills, his preparation, his professionalism and his integrity that made the color of his clothes nothing more than another uniqueness in the life of an incredible man.
John Sanchez is an unsung hero, and a good example for young Latinos to follow.
Emma Sepulveda's column appears every other Sunday in Voices.