NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — National Borinqueneers Day honors the soldiers who fought in the 65th Infantry Regiment, the U.S. Military’s only all-Hispanic unit.
"They fought for a country that didn’t treat them as first-class citizens, yet they fought," passionately explained Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Carmelo Rodriguez Jr. is the President of the New Britain Latino Coalition. He explained that the brave men fought in both world wars and the Korean War. However, he said they weren’t recognized until recently because they were Puerto Rican. As a veteran, Rodriguez said this makes him extremely happy and proud of the nation’s progress.
“I am glad that even after so many years, we can now correct that situation and honor them and respect them,” said Rodriguez.
Since 2018, The City of New Britain has honored the regiment with the largest monument in the country. In 2021, the city started an annual ceremony.
“With most New Britain residents being of that descent, it is only fitting that we have this beautiful monument here in our city. It honors the Borinqueneers that fought for our country across the entire United States,” explained New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.
Stewart said it’s great seeing the community gather to respect and celebrate.
“It’s an honor, and we can’t take for granted those who fought for our freedom that Americans often take for granted, and it’s important to remember that,” said Stewart. “Not just on April 13th but throughout the year.”
Borinqueneers were awarded 90 Purple Heart medals and many other combat awards. In 2016, they were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Rodriguez stressed that it’s essential soldiers are recognized, no matter what.
“Never forget the history, honor the history and honor those there, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes,” said Rodriguez.
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