The 'Borinqueneers' a group of veterans who served in the 65th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army are getting much deserved attention for a war fought over 60 years ago, according to fellow veterans.
The 65th Army Regiment, composed primarily of Puerto Ricans except for the officers, began initially as a volunteer regiment in 1899.
The soldiers fought in a number of U.S. conflicts, including both World Wars but it was during the Korean War when they made their mark overcoming certain prejudices and discrimination as well as being recognized as one of the best armed forces by U.S. Commanders, according to U.S. Army veteran George Perez.
However, Perez says throughout the years the contributions made by the 65th Infantry seem to have been forgotten and were never recognized by the U.S. Congress, so State Representative Angel Cruz, a Puerto Rican himself, decided to do something about it.
“We decided to do a resolution honoring them for their services and to make them feel their contributions to us for us to have our freedom today has not gone on forgotten” said Cruz.
Cruz's resolution goes hand in hand with a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Pedro Pierlusi of Puerto Rico.
The bill would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 'Borinqueneers' who fought in the Korean War.
“It means a lot to those who are still alive because most of them are 80 years old 85 up to 90 and they never received anything” said Perez.
The congressional medal is just the first step, Representative Cruz says he's also urging Congress to issue a postal stamp honoring the 65th infantry.
Cruz's resolution has passed the state House and now awaits a vote by the state Senate.
The bill on the other hand was just recently introduced and still needs to pass the U.S. House.
Regardless Cruz is optimistic and says it's time these veterans are recognized.
“When colleagues of mine ask me what did Puerto Rico contribute to the U.S? 65th infantry regimen....enough said. It's honoring the attributions that the 65th infantry has given” said Cruz.