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Springfield, Holyoke honor Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers

Senator Adam Gomez (left), Antonio Morales, member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, and Gumersindo Gomez at City Hall in Springfield in honor of the service the regiment had to aid in World War I, II, and the Korean War.
Nirvani Williams
/
NEPM
Senator Adam Gomez (left), Antonio Morales, member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, and Gumersindo Gomez at City Hall in Springfield in honor of the service the regiment had to aid in World War I, II, and the Korean War.

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."

Copyright 2022 New England Public Media. To see more, visit New England Public Media.

Nirvani Williams
Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America. Prior to this, Williams was the associate editor of Seema, an online publication dedicated to spreading more stories about women in the Indian diaspora, and has written a variety of articles, including a story about a Bangladeshi American cybersecurity expert and her tips for protecting phone data while protesting. Williams interned at WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News,” WSHU public radio, and La Voce di New York, a news site in Italian and English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stony Brook University, where she was the executive editor of the student-run culture magazine, The Stony Brook Press.

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