Dear Ms Yanez,
My heartfelt thanks to you and the Miami Herald for you article and posting of the Freedom Flights database. Coincidentally, today is the 42nd anniversary of my family’s arrival from Cuba on the Freedom Flights. I remembered first thing this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see your article on the front page of the Miami Herald. Several years ago I heard mention of this database but had never been able to access it. I was thrilled to find it this morning on your paper’s website.
Unfortunately I could not find any trace of my family’s entrance on December 17, 1966 in the database; perhaps our names have been transposed as the database suggests has occurred with other names. Four of us left that morning from Varadero on a Panamerican flight headed to Miami. My mother’s elderly aunt, Teresa Casanova de Arechavaleta, my mother, Pura Arechavaleta de Acosta, my father, Humberto Acosta Vazquez and myself, a 5 month old infant, Cristina Acosta Arechavaleta. Our family unit represented both the oldest and the youngest persons aboard.
While I obviously could have no personal recollection of this event I have lived it many times through the eyes of my parents. Each year we quietly celebrate with an emphatic “thank you God.” When that plane took off many people aboard started crying, others chanted “Viva Cuba Libre.” My parents have often wondered about the fate of others aboard that flight; hopefully they have fared as well as us. This country and our own hard work have rewarded us. My parents today enjoy their retirement in good health, having raised two daughters (my sister came along three years later).
May God continue to bless the U.S.A y que viva una Cuba Libre.
Again, many thanks and Kudos to you!
Christina Acosta Sutter