Dear Pedro Pan Brothers and Sisters,
It was a
crisp and cool Sunday morning as the crowd filed into the Rio Hondo Golf Club Event Center in Downey, California where over
165 Pedro Pan, family and friends gathered for the Cuban Kids from the 60’s Exodus Pedro Pan of California spring reunion.
The early part of the afternoon was dedicated to socializing,
locating yourself in the map, and viewing the collages of the Pedro Pan Parents always a huge crowd favorite.
hour seemed to flash by in a minute, and it was time to call the gathering to order. Sergio Diaz started the program introducing
the dual MCs for the event, Palmira Perez the local Telemundo Channel 22 news anchor and Ruben Rabasa the well known Cuban
American actor. Palmira and Ruben announced to the crowd that they would be a
huge part of the festivities. Each table had to confer amongst themselves and choose a person to represent the table and share
a story with the gathering; either about their Pedro Pan experience or when arriving in the U.S.
followed by Oscar Pichardo commenting on the presence of the CNBC camera crew at the reunion, filming the event as part of
a documentary on the 50th anniversary of Operation Pedro Pan and the opportunity of Pedro Pan everywhere to get
involved in preserving our history. Enrique Garcia informed those present of the current situation of the political prisoners
in Cuba the upcoming film Oscar’s Cuba at a local theatre. The benediction
was then delivered by the Honorable Frank Firmat before enjoying our lunch.
Following lunch, Palmira and Ruben got the festivities
rolling by introducing guest speaker Maria Arechaederra. After Maria completed her stirring speech, Pedro Pan Arturo and Estela
Bueno had the honor of introducing the Pedro Pan parents present. When Arturo called their name and asked them to stand, Estela
presented each one with a rose.
Palmira and Ruben then took over the crowd as Palmira
called out the table numbers and Ruben prodded the not too often shy spokesperson to relate their story to those present. Just to make it more interesting, in the middle of the story telling, the power went
out and the mike went silent. In our best Cuban tradition I’m happy to report the story telling continued and microphones
completely unnecessary. Each and every table participated and everyone had a great story to tell!
Afterward, the signature and tradition of our group,
the self introduction of the new Pedro Pan attending a reunion for the first time took place. A very emotional moment, as
they relate their Pedro Pan experience to their fellow brothers and sisters.
The final challenge of the afternoon was getting all
of the 36 Pedro Pan in attendance together for the Pedro Pan group picture. Mission accomplished!
The final surprise of the day was the cameo appearance
of Candi Sosa, a singer and Pedro Pan, who dropped by and regaled those present with a stirring poem and a rousing rendition
of Guantanamera. The excellent Old Havana Band played until the festivities terminated.
The main reason we have these events is to bring people
together who perhaps have not seen each other for a while. Oscar Cossio and Rinaldo Cebrian had not seen each other since
they were classmates in Camaguey and Pedro Pan parents Julie Chung and Mercedes Kou reconnected after 40 years.
Pictures of the event will be ready over the next couple
of days. You’ll receive an email letting you know to visit our web site, to view the pictures of our reunion. If you have
pictures from the event you would like to share with the Pedro Pan family please email them to us
It takes the contribution of many to pull off an event
like this, so thanks to everyone out there who worked so hard to make this event an unqualified success!
We look forward to seeing all of you at our next event.
Do join us, and who knows: you may reconnect with an old friend!