Springfield, Holyoke honor Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers
Puerto Rican veterans who served in the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, were honored at City Hall in Springfield and Holyoke Wednesday.
April 13 commemorates National Borinqueneers day, recognizing the Borinqueneers as the only Hispanic segregated unit in the United States Armed Forces.
Antonio Morales, a 98 year old Borinqueneer, joined Gumersindo Gomez and state Sen. Adam Gomez, D - Springfield at City Hall, as one of few remaining living Borinqueneers in the region. The Puerto Rican regiment fought for the U.S. in both World Wars and the Korean War.
Before the Puerto Rican flag was raised Gumersindo Gomez, the executive director of the Massachusetts Bilingual Outreach Center, noted the regiment's history.
"Their history goes back to 1908 when the United States of America, especially Massachusetts, invaded Puerto Rico," Gomez said. "From there, the regiment was established, but it was not until 1922 that the regiment became part of the United States Army."
Holyoke's Mayor Joshua Garcia took pride in Congress recognizing the Borinqueneers.
"To know that Congress recognized this particular group that's contributed to the fabric of the United States, it helps with spreading pride around the culture and the community at large," Garcia said. "As a Puerto Rican mayor in a community that has more Puerto Ricans per capita living here than any other municipality in the world outside of the island of Puerto Rico, it's a real, true honor for me to be part of this."
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