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Bridgeport’s Heartfelt Tribute To The ‘Borinqueneers’

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Bill Sarno

CTLatinoNews.com

As the sun shone brightly Saturday morning on Rafael Chiesa, the Korean War veteran smiled with pride as he and six other Puerto Rican men were saluted at a ceremony in Bridgeport to celebrate the redesignation of East Main Street in honor of their former combat unit,  the 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers.

State Rep. Chris Rosario, who had shepherded the renaming measure through the Legislature, had helped organize the program, which was staged outside the Veterans Service Center, which is located on East Main, to  honor the  famed regiment, which during its 50-year history of sacrifice and courage was almost exclusively comprised  of men drawn from what Congress  called “Porto Rico” when it authorized its formation in 1901.

The 150 attendees Saturday included U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, state legislators, Sign and groupcity officials and Hispanic veterans from Albany, N.Y. And Boston.

“It has been …

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In CT It’s A Go For Borinqueneers, Nationally Left Out of Medal Design

pres   and old black and white photo

Bill Sarno
CTLatinoNews.com
 

As Connecticut is poised to rename a major street through a Latino neighborhood in Bridgeport to “Borinqueneers Memorial  Highway’, nationally questions are raised about the lack of input they’ve had in the design of the Congressional Gold Medal they were awarded.

The state bill, which passed early this morning in the legislature’s special session and is headed to the governor’s desk, honors  the segregated  Puerto Rican military unit, officially the  U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment that served in four wars, while enduring discrimination and other hardships from within the military itself.

Nationally, the organization that lead the grassroots effort  to have the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor awarded to the Borinqueneers is criticizing the U.S. Mint, which is responsible for the medal’s production. The issue, they say, is that those who fought in those units have had little if any participation in the design of  the medal.…

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The Borinqueneers: A Story That Had To Be Told

Korean War Veteran Luis Rodriquez, who was part of the 65th Regiment received a signed copy of the Congressional Gold Medal bill which honored him and his fellow 'Borinqueneers'. He is joined by Frank Median, who led the fight to have the unit's role in U.S. history recognized.

Korean War Veteran Luis Rodriquez, who was part of the 65th Regiment, received a signed copy of the Congressional Gold Medal bill which honored him and his fellow ‘Borinqueneers’. He is joined by Frank Medina, who led the fight to have the unit’s role in U.S. history recognized.

 
Diane Alverio
Publisher
 
In the fall of 2012, shortly after we launched CTLatinoNews.com, we learned of a story that, unfortunately, none of us had heard before.  It is the story of the soldiers of the segregated 65th military regiment based in Puerto Rico.  Although, according to historians, they fought valiantly in four wars, they were subjected to discrimination and other abuses by the military itself,  merely because they were from Puerto Rico.
 

It took a young Bridgeport, CT  Latino, Frank Medina, to take the lead and work tirelessly  to make sure this unit’s role in history became known and their story told.    …

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