My dream of freedom and better opportunity for my family came true. America is still the land of opportunity and freedom. I remember when the Philippines was still a commonwealth of the United States, and I was in grade school, we sang “the Star Spangled Banner” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
We did not come here on the Mayflower, but America has become our adopted country. Let freedom ring!
“My country, ‘tis of thee.
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!”
Virgilio I. Gonzales was born in 1932 in the Philippines and grew up during the Japanese occupation in World War II. He has written and published how his family survived the war in his autobiography Waiting for General MacArthur. He studied and graduated with a chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines. He married a fellow chemist, Maria Corazon Jimenea, and they have three children — Arsenio, Leilani and Leo. In 1978 he emigrated to the United Sates and was employed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., who relocated his family from Manila to Danbury, Connecticut. Let Freedom Ring, his second book, is an affirmation of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave.$2.99–$16.99
Virgilio’s story had to be told. The time had come when Virgilio Gonzales just had to tell his story. It could wait no longer. The time had not softened the memories of his youth, when the Japanese occupied the Philippines, his native country, during World War II.
The story, as all powerful stories had to come out into words that would last. And so the now 80-year-old Danbury resident sat down to write. It took four years to complete and publish “Waiting for General MacArthur.” Virgilio can now hold the soft-cover book in his hands.
I, for one, am glad he sat down years ago to finally tell his story.
– Jacqueline Smith, managing director
of the News-Times, Danbury, Connecticut
Virgilio I. Gonzales was born in 1932 in Cavite City in the Philippines. He grew up during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in WWII. He studied and graduated with a chemistry degree from University of the Philippines. He married a fellow chemist Maria Corazon Jimenea, and they have three children – Arsenio, Leilani and Leo. In 1978 he emigrated to the United States and in 1982 he petitioned his family to join him in Danbury, Connecticut, where he worked as a chemist at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.He retired in 1997 and enrolled in a short novel writing course at the Western Connecticut State University. “Waiting for General MacArthur” was the product of that course. It took a lifetime to write the book.$2.99–$16.99