I am sitting here watching ESPN’s live coverage of the Jose Fernandez funeral procession in Miami. Jose, the charismatic Cuban Marlins pitcher died this weekend in a tragic boating accident late in the evening after the Saturday night game. There are literally thousands of people waiting to see the procession the likes of a dignitary rather than a young 24-year-old baseball player. You can tell this man was so loved by his Miami Florida community. He was like the boy next door, or your smiling, friendly cousin. The team is heartbroken as Jose was very loved and admired by his enthusiasm, compassion, and love of the game, and by his teammates and fans. What a great example for millions of Latinos, many are immigrants, many are looking for a role model and although Jose wasn’t perfect, none of us are, he was genuine.
He tried four times to get to the US from Cuba and once saved his mother from nearly drowning in their escape. He knew what America was, and is. This country is comprised of millions of proud Americans, proud immigrants and international visitors come here to visit our great country everyday. Immigrants have made this country great. They have shed much of there birth county customs and tradions for American ideals. This young man’s tragic death has united Latino’s and all races in sorrow, and honor. It was a great thing to see in a world so ready to toss immigrants to the side or say they don’t matter or worse treat them as rapists and murderers as a current presidential candidate would have us believe. Most Americans know what our America is and this young man is the American experience and a true story of perseverance, courage, and humility. Rest in peace Jose Fernandez, you are someone to be admired and honored not in how you died but in how you lived.