Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
Thank you, Congresswoman Gonzalez-Colon. And good afternoon everybody. I’m Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Orlando.
I’m honored to be here at this historic ceremony, and humbled to have played a part in officially designating today, April 13th, and every April 13th going forward, as “National Borinqueneers Day.”
I want to acknowledge Secretary McDonough, General McConville, Congressman Soto, and Mr. Sam Rodriguez. Together, they represent the veteran community, the Army family, and the nearly 1.2 million Puerto Ricans living in Florida.
Above all, I want to thank the Puerto Rican soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers.
I see some of you sitting in front of me, looking nearly as fit and as tough as you did 70 years ago, when you fought so valiantly for our nation during the Korean War.
I know there are also Borinqueneers watching from Puerto Rico, Florida, and other places around the country.
I hope you feel proud and happy. You deserve this, because you earned this.
Of course, most Borinqueneers did not live to see this moment. And most did not live to see the moment, five years ago today, when a ceremony was held in the U.S. Capitol to confer the Congressional Gold Medal on the 65th Infantry Regiment.
Some of these Borinqueneers lost their lives in combat. Others because of the unforgiving passage of time.
These men may be gone, but their legacy will endure. The Korean War has been called the “Forgotten War.” But, thanks to ceremonies like this one, our nation will never forget these American soldiers from San Juan and Ponce and nearly every town in Puerto Rico.
They answered when our country called.
They fought against a tough enemy, and terrible terrain, and bitter cold—thousands of miles from their sun-drenched home. They faced prejudice because of their skin color and the language they spoke. They endured hardship after hardship. In the face of adversity, they showed courage and grace.
However belated it may be, these men have earned the recognition and respect they are now receiving.
They earned the Congressional Gold Medal five years ago and they earned a national day designated in their honor.
So, to the Borinqueneers, both living and departed, I say thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. You will never be forgotten.