By Jim Roope, CNN
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(CNN) – Sixty-five years ago this week, a plane carrying 32 people crashed in Central California's Los Gatos Canyon, killing all on board.
The dead included the four crew members and 28 Mexican citizens taking part in this nation’s first ‘guest worker’ program. As part of the program, called 'Braceros,' workers were flown in to ply American fields to help ease the US labor shortage caused by World War II. After a few months they would be flown back to Mexico.
Local resident Lisa Junnilla tells how one of those planes didn’t make it back.
[1:19] “...there was an explosion on the plane. And one of the wings fell off. Can you imagine how scary that would have been? And of course, you know, it was not able to fly and it crashed. And it was the pilot and the co-pilot and one of the pilots’ wife was the stewardess on the plane and the plane of course crashed and all those poor people perished. And they actually found some baby clothing in the wreckage but they were never able to find a child. It’s really tragic.”
When the newspaper articles were published and the radio reports broadcast, the names of the pilot, co-pilot, flight attendant and immigration guard were announced. The Mexican laborers were referred to simply as "the 28 deportees."
Folk singer Woody Guthrie, angered by the indignity of ignoring the names of the Mexican victims wrote a poem called ‘Deportee’ that was later put to music and recorded by such artists as Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, and Bruce Springsteen.
One man, the man who tends the cemetery where the 28 are buried, recently set out to put names to the nameless and restore dignity to the dead.
Listen to the story to hear a full account of the crash, its aftermath, and its legacy.