News & Reviews
*Repost from http://www.borinqueneers.org/*
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The Borinqueneers receive U.S. Congressional Gold Medal on April 13! WASHINGTON ??? On Wednesday, April 13, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, for its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity. The 65th Infantry is a Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army that bravely fought and served the U.S. during times of combat, including World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. For its extraordinary service to the nation in the Korean War, the Regiment earned nine Distinguished Service Crosses, approximately 250 Silver Stars, over 600 Bronze Stars, and more than 2,700 Purple Hearts. Congressman Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) and Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) of Florida, who worked together to draft and secure House passage of the bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Regiment, spoke at the event. So, too, did Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who led the parallel effort in the U.S. Senate. In addition, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow. In accordance with Public Law No: 113-120, a single gold medal has been struck to honor the 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers for its valor, determination, and bravery displayed during the Korean War. The ceremony took place on April 13, 2016, at 3:00 PM ET in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol, and is available for viewing on CSPAN. Prior to the ceremony, the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony National Committee held wreath presentations the Tomb of the Unknown, the World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. A National Awards Reception followed the unveiling ceremony.
Repost from CT LATINOS NEWS, For Educational purpose by Fair Use Copyrights.
Author: Bill Sarno
Recognition for the contributions and sacrifices made by the Puerto Rican soldiers of U.S. Army’s 65th infantry, the famed Borinqueneers, in three wars continues to advance in Connecticut with an effort to establish a memorial park in New Britain under way and, more recently, with legislation introduced to name in their honor a stretch of East Main Street in the Latino section of Bridgeport.
While work on the New Britain project is moving forward, primarily at this point on the organizational and planning levels, the street renaming proposal, introduced in January by Rep. Christopher Rosario (D-128) of Bridgeport, has been gaining significant support both at the state level and from a national organization that spearheaded the successful drive to have a Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to the 65th Regiment.
Rosario’s bill is being considered with other street name requests, according to Rep. Angel Arce (D-4), the committee’s vice chairman. “I am in support of Rep. Rosario’s bill to recognize the service, sacrifice and magnitude of what the Borinqueneers did as they fought our wars,” said Arce last week. The Hartford legislator added, “It would be a great accomplishment if we can make this happen.”
Rosario, whose district includes the East Side neighborhood which contains the area that would be affected, said recently, “It is up to us, the current generation, to not forget what past generations of our own people have done.”
The 65th Regiment was organized in Puerto Rico after the island was acquired by the United States in 1898. The regiment, which was the military’s last segregated unit in combat, was active during the two world wars, gaining distinction during combat in the Korean War when it had to endure hardship and often a numerically superior enemy. Despite the discrimination they endured, they nicknamed themselves the Borinqnueneers based on the original name of Puerto Rico – Borinquen.
In New Britain, an organization was set up last year to create the first memorial park in the U.S. dedicated to the Borinqueneers. The National 65th Regiment Historical Society acquired a parcel of land at the intersection of Beaver and Washington streets near Farmington Avenue in that city. The memorial project is on track said Dan Garcia, who helped initiate this campaign and is its executive director. Garcia said, ” We are excited to have formed an excellent board of directors from across the state, and we are basically waiting for a non-profit 501(c)3 designation from the government so we can begin raising funds for the park,” which Garcia and others say will also be an educational focal point for scores of young Puerto Ricans and non-Latinos.
Site of the future memorial park in New Britain dedicated to the ‘Borinqueneers”
In 2013, the first Veteran’s Day ceremony took place at the site and last May a ground-breaking ceremony and flower planting took place. The group also has placed a sign indicating that this is the future site of the 65th Infantry Regiment memorial park. Eventually, the group hopes to erect a monument in the park, Garcia said, the board is working on the logistics and costs.
In 2014, President Obama signed the bill that awarded the legendary ‘Borinqueneers’ the Congressional gold Medal of Honor.
In both New Britain and Bridgeport, interest in honoring the Borinqueneers was heightened last year when the unit received the Congressional Medal of Honor, an award already accorded to similar units such as the Tuskegee Airman and the Native American Code Talkers.
Rosario said that as he went door to door campaigning last summer, the message he heard from some residents of Bridgeport’s largely Latino East Side essentially came down to “they are honoring everybody else in Connecticut, but never honoring our people.”
Rosario said he approached the mayor and council members from eastern Bridgeport about renaming part of East Main Street for the Borinqueneers and they were behind this “110 percent.”
However, since East Main Street is technically a state road, the name changing campaign had to go through the legislative process at the Capitol. One of the first actions Rosario took upon taking office in January was to sponsor a bill, HB 6336, for the renaming.
His proposal, whose co-sponsors include Rep. Ezequiel Santiago (D-130) of Bridgeport, was assigned to the Transportation Committee and was the subject of a hearing in February, at which those providing support included Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Milta Feliciano, the council person in whose district the street designated for renaming is situated.
Finch said this change would “honor our Puerto Rican community as a whole.”
Feliciano, who also is the city’s Director of Veterans Affairs, said, “There are only a few (Borinqueneers) left, so let’s honor the story of these forgotten soldiers while they are still with us.”
The state’s Latin and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission also backed the renaming as “a positive gesture for the community,” said Werner Oyanadel, executive director. “Connecticut should recognize the accomplishments of Latinos,” he said.
Additional support came from Orlando, Fla., in the form of a letter put into testimony at the public hearing from Frank Medina, who organized and lead the successful national campaign to obtain a Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Regiment.
Medina, who was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Bridgeport neighborhood where the street would be renamed, said as a youth “he envisioned making a meaningful difference in the East Side of Bridgeport.
A former U.S. Army captain, Medina said last week that he was “keenly aware” of both the New Britain and Bridgeport projects, but particularly of the latter and has been corresponding with Rosario. He said the legislator can definitely count on his support and that he looks forward to attending the street renaming ceremony.
Medina said he would like to see the entire length of East Main Street named, not just the portion from Boston Avenue and Artic Street which lies in Rosario’s district.
Rosario said that getting the whole street renamed was “something he has been thinking to do” and that working with Santiago, whose district also includes part of East Main, this remains a possibility for the future.
For now, he said, his focus is on the section that runs through the “heart of the Puerto Rican/Latino community.” Rosario said that as an “East Side guy” he is “prideful and confident this will get done.”
Update: 3/9/15: 12:58 pm - Rosario said Monday that Transportation Committee Chairman Anthony Guerrera (D-29) said he is on board with the street renaming bill.
The House of Representatives on Monday afternoon approved by voice vote a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment.
Among civilian honors, the medal trails only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom in importance.
The bill was introduced jointly by Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner (a non-voting member of the House), Pedro Pierluisi.
During the Korean conflict in the early 1950s, the 65th Infantry Regiment worked as a segregated unit, and its servicemen were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars and 2,771 Purple Hearts.
But when the Puerto Rican soldiers returned to the U.S., they were not given the same care and benefits that other soldiers received after they retired from active duty.
“Members of the unit are called ‘Borinqueneers,’” Pierluisi said on the floor of the House while speaking in support of the bill. “Since the term was first used over 60 years ago, coined by members of the Regiment on their way to Korea, it has become synonymous with honor, courage, redemption and pride.”
Four other military units previously have received the Congressional Gold Medal collectively: the Native American Navajo Wind Talkers, the Japanese-American Nisei Soldiers and the African-American Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines. The Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs) have also received the medal.
Representatives José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez, both New York Democrats of Puerto Rican descent, also spoke in defense of the measure, which will now be considered by the Senate.
If the measure passes, the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the unit will be given to the Smithsonian Institution.
For years, members of the Borinqueneers alliance lobbied heavily both on the island and in the mainland U.S. to spur Congress to award the medal to the Puerto Rican veterans.
“They served their country and then they got back to Puerto Rico to find that they don’t have the same status as other soldiers,” said Javier Morales, the president of the 65th Infantry Veterans Association.
Cyber-Hobby has put together the perfect combination to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the ending of the Korean War. The Orange Box set includes a 1/35 M46 Patton as well as GIs fighting in the early part of the war. The tank is extremely well detailed, despite it being originally released some time ago. One remarkable thing about the tank is the colorful markings, which include tiger stripes, fanged teeth and claws. Such markings were designed to frighten superstitious North Koreans. The US Army figures are in action poses, wearing correctly detailed uniforms and weapons. The four GIs combine well with the armored vehicle to produce an atmospheric diorama…courtesy of Orange Box’s legendary low prices.
this set is scheduled for a September 2013 release