DECEMBER 15, 1966

Olga Martinez


We arrived at Miami International Airport on 12-15-1966 and were whisked away in a bus to a shelter located right at the airport. I was six years old and in awe. I remember the circular stickers on our clothes that told everyone we were Catholic and the Catholic organization was going to help us find a home. My family, father, mother, and sister were given a room with four bunk beds - I though it was fun and chose the upper bunk. I also remember a small candy store in the shelter and my father was able to get me Wrigley's juicy fruit gum. We spent a week there and a relative that lived in Lakeland FL came to take us out one day. We went to Woolworth and I was offered the pair of shoes of my choice - a red pair of Keds sneakers of course! The shoes were my first warm memory of the American way! The sneakers were for my trip to our new home in -- New York City. We arrived in NY in a heavy snow storm on mom's cousin greeted us and we started our new life in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. The snow was really beautiful, we were cold but full of hope; all my parents wanted was to keep their daughters safe, get jobs and be ever grateful to this country and its citizens for letting us escape communism. Eighteen years later the little girl that had worn the red Keds was sworn in as a US Immigration Officer. I am currently still a serving this country as a civil servant in the US State father has since passed but I am still living his dream of freedom and gratitude.

Read more Freedom Flight Memories stories from the Miami Herald

  • JUNE 7th, 1967

    Ana De Los Reyes

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your great efforts in compiling the Freedom Flights date base information. It was with great emotion that I looked up my father's arrival to freedom information.

  • JULY 24 1968

    Miriam Rodriguez

    We arrive on July 24 1968, I remember as soon we were in the plane we heard a welcome from Pres. Johnson, as we arrive in Miami there were a priest & minister to welcome as I will never will forget that day.

  • NOVEMBER 27, 1967

    Ana María Florin

    It was November 27, 1967 when my mother ( now 83 years old), my father (now deceased) and I came to the United states via the Freedom Flight. We planned to come earlier, but the Bay of Pigs invasion delayed our plans since all flights were put on halt.

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