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They were immigrants - and real American heroes

May 25, 2018 - Washington Post Blogs

Before the burgers and beer, let's take a few minutes to think about what it is that Memorial Day commemorates.

Matej Kocak arrived in the United States in 1906 from what is now Slovakia. The strapping young man of 23 made his way to Pittsburgh, where thousands of immigrants were making new lives in the glow of steel forges on the banks of the Monongahela.

But steelwork was not for Kocak. Instead, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and, after more than a decade of honorable servic...