Ramon Punto was a young Second Lieutenant from Spanish Harlem in New York City sent to Fort Sill to begin his military career as an Artillery officer in the United States Army. Following the fourth day of training, Lieutenant Punto and three other young Army officers began reminiscing about the importance of their parents in the formative years of their lives during an evening meal in the Dining Facility.
Lieutenant Punto had always wanted to play basketball like Walt Frazier, a star player of the New York Knicks. However, he quickly learned from his experience with basketball in elementary school that he would never be tall enough, quick enough or shoot the ball well enough to become even a fair basketball player at the high school level. Ramon thought that if he could play basketball, then he could support those who could by cheering them on to victory by playing good music while his classmate played.
Ramon’s parents supported him as well. According to Lieutenant Punto, his parents never missed a sporting event or concert he performed in. What was interesting about Lieutenant Punto’s story was that both of the young officer’s parents were deaf. They reportedly could not hear a single note from his trumpet. However, as he reported, “My parents were always there to support me wherever I performed.”
The other junior officers sat in silence. Although each person had heard Lieutenant Punto’s story, more than likely each probably felt his story to be a powerful example of loyalty, love and parental presence. Whether or not his parents could hear his music making or not was not nearly as important as their love for their son and support by their presence.
Though nearly forty years ago, Lieutenant Punto’s story was remembered when it was announced that dozens of Haitian children, who no longer had parents or relatives to care for them, needed homes. Dozens of households of all racial and many ethnic groups came forward with their love and presence for children they did not know to give them a home.
Although recent news reports appear to indicate a few of the adoptions may have been badly managed perhaps even intentional, the vast majority seem to be correctly performed. But what is known, for the most part, those who provided love and presence for these children will never hear the notes of “thanks” that will come from the hearts of the affected children.