Cuban immigrants share precious family heirlooms to show history of Cuban exiles by Janey Fugate Julia Adán Pelegrín, 71, opened a black suitcase full of faded elegant shirts. Those shirts, she explained, belonged to her father, Emilio Adán Silva, when he was a Supreme Court justice in Cuba, and they represented his life before he and 12 other justices signed a letter denouncing Fidel Castro’s government. Eight years later, his family moved to Miami. Those shirts, Pelegrín says, represent the sacrifice her father made for his family and express the pride she feels. “These are not only memories but items of everyday use when Cuba existed as a nation,” Adán said. “[These shirts] were on the streets of Havana. They lived there.” Such feelings of pride and nostalgia prevailed Saturday in the lobby of the Freedom Tower, when dozens of Cubans gathered to donate or lend objects of historic interest that document their exile experience. More than 300 items — passports, documents, photos, clothes — will be part of an exhibit that will open at the tower in September. The inauguration of the exhibit is a key step in the preservation of Cuban history, said Alina Interián, host of the event and executive director of Miami Dade College cultural affairs. “We want to pay tribute to the people to whom this tower means so much,” said Interián, who also was processed at the Freedom Tower when she arrived from Cuba. Between 1962 and 1974, Cuban refugees were processed at the tower, known as “The Refuge.” It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008. The exhibit, titled “The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom,” is a collaboration between Miami Dade College and the Miami Herald Media Company. Its objective is to document, preserve and share the history of the difficulties the exiled Cuban community went through since Fidel Castro’s rise to power. The facility has deserved a project like this for some time, said Luisa Meruelo, 93, who worked for the tower’s immigration service for nine years. “I was always wondering why no one had done something about the refugees here,” Meruelo said. “This is a long story, a beautiful story.” The exhibit is a way to thank the nation that gave them refuge during that turbulent time, she said. “We have to thank the people of the United States for being so generous to us at a very difficult time,” she said. Now, the museum can show items like the first coins earned in this country, the tie that an immigrant was wearing when he arrived, a wedding gown and the tiny dress of a 3-year-old. To the people who wore them, these items are intimately associated with the difficult experience of having to abandon their native country. One of those people was Mercy Advocat, who arrived in 1962 with her brother in the Pedro Pan Operation. That exodus took place between 1960 and 1962 and brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States. “The last thing our parents told us before leaving was that my brother and I should never be separated,” Advocat said. “We then boarded the plane and, when we landed, the first thing they did was separate us — the girls from the boys.” Advocat and her brother eventually were sent to the same foster home in Albuquerque, N.M., and they ended doing what their parents had told them. After two years, they were reunited with their mother in New York. The black-and-white photos Advocat brought to the tower show her mother’s tears when she reunited with her children. She is lending those photos and a doll brought from Cuba — some of her most precious keepsakes — to the museum. She is not ready to part with them yet. “I’m not so old to have to donate them,” she said. © 2014 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved. Read more here:

Carmen A Alonso Concepcion

General Information
Current Name
Carmen A Alonso Concepcion
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Carmen A Alonso Concepcion
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Wednesday, March 14, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Mr. and Mrs. Munoz

Carmen A's Story

This person has not yet filled out their story about their flight as a part of Operation Pedro Pan.

Carmen A's News Feed

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La fiesta del Pedro Pan va a ser el 13 de noviembre, creo que en Miami Beach Resort. Nos quedamos ahi la ultima vez que fuimos a Miami. Bill y yo vamos a Espana el 23 de agosto hasta el 10 de sept. Tengo que ver come el $ anda, pero me encantaria ir. Mis vecinas de Camaguey ya hicieron sus reservaciones! Dudo mucho Bill vaya querer ir, asi que sera solo yo. Crees que Magda, las Marino y Silvia fueran? Enrique vino por una semana y fuimos a ver a Sister Barbara. Esta viviendo en una casa al frente del high school. Tiene problemas con sus piernas y un poco problema caminando aparte de eso se ve bien y contenta y habladora como siempre. Ahora me metio en un alumni sabe que y un muchacho me mando un EMail para ver se les hablaba a los estudiantes del high school acerca de nuestra venida etc. No le he contestado. Enrique es mucho mejor que yo en esas cosas. Bueno ,ojala pueda ir. Veremos. Les puedes avisar al resto de las muchachas? Carinos para todas Sandra B

Message by Sandra Sluss AKA Grusenmeyer 1st marriage | Jul 18th 2010

I was not aware that Tahiri and Ariel were still there in in 1962...She is a nurse in NY. I have not kept in contact with her...I know about her from my mom. I have never spoken to anyone about Tucson. I know you arrived there after I left but could you tell me a little about this place and perhaps point me to who may else have been there in August of '61.

Message by Rodolfo Sanchez Mario | Apr 13th 2010

I arrived in Tucson in August 1961...I was only 5 years old...much younger than other Peter Pans. Tahiry is acutally my Aunt...Tahiri, her brother Ariel and I all arrived at Sacred Heart academy at approximately the same time. Six months later when my mother arrived from Cuba, I travelled back with her to Miami. I have some old black and white photos of me back in Tucson, and from what I recall most of the others there were mostly older girls.

Message by Rodolfo Sanchez Mario | Apr 12th 2010

Carmen, I was in Tucson in 1961...I saw a note you left Tahiri that you were there also...please confirm?

Message by Rodolfo Sanchez Mario | Apr 11th 2010

Ojala nos podamos reunion, seria magnifico. Yo fui a Miami el ano pasado a una reunion familiar. Mucho corre- corre. Todos mis hijos y nietos fueron. La reunion fue barbara, mas de 300 personas, si conocia a 30 eran muchas. Carinos, Sandra

Message by Sandra Sluss AKA Grusenmeyer 1st marriage | Sep 6th 2009

Hola Cuqui, Es inmenso el gusto que me da saber de ustedes. Vivo en San Pedro, California, un suburbio de Los Angeles. Mi esposo es americano y se llama Tom Dawson. Me encantaria volver a saber de todas las companeras. Como estan tus hermanas? Un saludo muy carinoso para ellas. Mi telefono es (310) 547-1936. Espero que podamos volver a reunirnos pronto. Carinos, Ambarina

Message by Ambarina Siu-Dawson | Aug 8th 2009

Carmen: Me preguntas si me case. Pues si, mi esposo es americano. Se llama Richard Morley asi es que mi nombre ahora es Rosa Hong Morley. Llevo mi apellido de soltera como "middle name." Tenemos dos hijas, Kimberly y Christina. Kim es maestra y Christy es dentista. Cada una tiene dos hijos. Mi esposo y yo estamos retirados. Eramos directores de high school y mas tarde administradores del distrito escolar de Los Angeles. Vivimos en Huntington Beach, CA y Incline Village, NV. Despues de nuestro retiro nos pasamos la mayoria del ano en NV pues estamos en Lake Tahoe. Cuentame de tu vida. Espero poder ir a Miami el proximo ano y reunirme contigo y Yara. Carinos, Rosa

Message by Rosa Hong (Morley) | Jul 15th 2009

Carmen me conto Yara que tenias muchas fotos de nosotras en Florida City cuando viviamos en la casa de los Munoz. Me alegro mucho que te comunicaras conmigo. Espero poder ir a Miami el ano proximo y entonces poder reunirme contigo y con Yara y cualquier otra companera de nuestros primeros dias de exilio. Yo he olvidado mucho de lo que paso en esa epoca. Espero reanudar muchas amistades a traves de este medio. Carinos, Rosa

Message by Rosa Hong (Morley) | Jul 14th 2009

Cuqui: Vi que escribiste en el profile de Ambarina que estaba en Tucson. Nunca mas supe de ella. Acaso Sandra la habria visto? Tenemos que planear la reunion en serio ya que todas piensan que es una buena idea!

Message by Rosa Maria Canseco Vallejo | Jul 5th 2009

Cuqui, cuanto me alegro saber de ti, parece que fue ayer ..... ¿Ya tienen fecha para la reunion? Creo que seria genial. Besos y abrazos, Adela

Message by Adela Diaz Gomez | Jul 4th 2009

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