The first thing you notice in an Aguirre family album is the uniforms. Dwight Eisenhower's closets didn't have this many uniforms -- but one Saint Paul family did.
"A very handsome family by the way," jokes youngest brother Joe, who pauses for emphasis then adds, "when they were young."
Ten Aguirre brothers -- in a family with eleven boys -- went off to serve their country during WWII and the Korean War.
"Oh yeah, I volunteered," says brother Bill. Only Bill was turned down for service, because of his polio, but then found a job modifying B-24 bombers for the war.
The Aguirre brothers were raised in St. Paul -- the sons of Jose and Henrietta -- Mexican immigrants.
"They were migrant workers that worked their way up all the way to Minnesota," explains Joe.
Their mother prayed until all ten of her boys came home. "Her prayers were answered," says brother Peter, his voice cracking. All ten Aguirre brothers made it home safely, which meant future generations of Aguirres could go on to serve in every major U.S. conflict, from Viet Nam to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"There was nobody hesitated," says brother Louis. "They just decided that was a duty, you know, an honor." Adds Bill, "Band of brothers, I call it."
And why do we tell you this now? Because of the newly-made sign sitting down at the public works yard in St. Paul. It reads "Aguirre Avenue." Next week the street sign will unveiled at it's new home: the intersection of Payne & Wadena, soon to be known as Payne & Aguirre.
"I wish ma was here," says Peter. Their mom would have appreciated the honor, as would have the five Aguirre brothers who've already passed on.
"They'll be there in heart," says Joe. "In spirit they'll be there."
When their country needed them, Aguirres have always been there.
NOTE: The unveiling ceremony for the Aguirres Avenue street sign will be held at Wednesday, May 21st at 2pm at the intersection of Payne & Wadena, soon to be known as Payne & Aguirre.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)