Tuesday, March 23, 2004

In Memoriam

We're running a series of short biographical sketches of the people killed on 3/11 in Madrid. Source: La Vanguardia.

Jose Gallardo Olmo, army corporal, 34, Azuqueca de Henares. Jose was from Sant Feliu de Llobregat, a suburb of Barcelona. He was a professional soldier. He had been in the airborne brigade and had been assigned to the prestigious First King's Immemorial Infantry Brigade for the last four years. (This would be equivalent to having served, say, first in the 101st Airborne and then in the Big Red One.) He was studying for the exams he needed to pass in order to reenlist when his term of duty expired. "He liked the military atmosphere, the Army was his life", said one of his comrades.

Liliana Acero Ushina, maid, 26, Entrevias. She was born in Ecuador, where she worked as a seamstress. She came to Spain a year ago; she lived with her older sister and brother-in-law, her niece, and two more brothers. Lilian and her sister both worked for the same family; they were still illegal aliens but were hoping to get their papers soon. The sister arrived half an hour late to work on the 11th; Lilian was on time. She was on the train that bloew up at Atocha. It took them until the 16th to identify her body.

Oscar Abril Alegre, student, 19, Coslada. Oscar was in his first year at the university; he was with his girlfriend on the train. She is still in very serious condition at the Doce de Octubre hospital. Oscar's sister often traveled with them, all three on their way to class together, but that day she got a ride from another friend. Oscar's family was from the small town of Alfambra, where they are known to the whole village. The entire population of the town, in Teruel province, chartered two buses to get to Oscar's funeral.

Adriyan Asenov, 23, and Kalina Dimitrova, 29, Torrejon de Ardoz. They were Bulgarians who happened to meet at Atocha Station a year ago and were going to get married on May 16. Adriyan was a well-built, good-looking guy, and Kalina had a cheerful, smiling face. They lived together, with Adriyan's parents and cousins. Kalina was a widow; her husband and a brother were killed in an accident in Bulgaria three years ago. Their train blew up at El Pozo. It took them three days to identify them.

Sandra Iglesias, secretary, 28, Torrejon de Ardoz. Sandra had lost an older sister in a traffic accident. She and her boyfriend were about to buy an apartment and move in together; Sandra was still living with her parents. She was very fond of her two nephews. She had very fair skin and hair and blue eyes.

Michael Michell Rodriguez, construction worker, 27, El Pozo. Michael was Cuban. He'd been on a flight from Havana to Moscow in 2001; when it stopped in Madrid, Michael walked off and requested political asylum in Spain. His mother and sister managed to get to Canada somehow; his father stayed in Cuba. Michael was working construction in the mornings, and in a Cuban bar in the evenings. He loved Cuban and salsa music, and his friends remember him as very Cuban in his relaxed approach to life.

Javier Rodriguez Sanchez, 54, and Jorge Rodriguez Casanova, 22, Alcala de Henares. Javier was Jorge's father. They traveled into Madrid together, Jorge for classes and Javier for work. Jorge was studying electronics, and Javier worked for the Spanish Savings Bank Association. Javier was a well-known union activist. They both enjoyed traveling and participatory sports like cycling, rock-climbing, and hiking. Javier was married twice, with three children with his first wife and a four-year-old son with his current wife. Jorge was a tremendous fan of Real Madrid and his favorite player was Zinedane Zidane; he was buried with Zidane's number 5 Real Madrid jersey.

Juan Carlos del Amo Aguado, chemist, 28, Coslada. Juan Carlos had just received his doctorate cum laude in organic chemistry from the Complutense a year ago; he was an intern at a major corporation and had written a scientific article which was to be published in a journal. His dream was to work in the field of applied chemistry in industry. He lived with his parents and younger sister, to whom he was very close.

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