With the slight tug of a tarp Tuesday afternoon, Boston’s current mayor and its future leader unveiled the city’s new Puerto Rican veterans monument in the South End, a first-of-its kind memorial that has been years in the making.
The crowd of more than 100 people, including many veterans, broke into cheers in both English and Spanish as the monument, located at the corner of Washington and West Dedham streets, was revealed and adorned with a floral wreath fashioned in the style of the Puerto Rican flag.
The monument, the first public memorial in the nation honoring Puerto Rican veterans, depicts two soldiers, one male and one female, and includes an inscription that reads: “La libertad no es gratis,” or “Freedom is not free.”
“The first Puerto Rican veterans monument in the whole country,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Today we honor our Puerto Rican veterans who have fought in every war in the history of this country. You know, we don’t say enough, thank you to the veterans.”
The construction of the monument, which sits on a slim plot of land across the street from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, brought to a conclusion a 15-year effort by several local veterans.
The veterans secured the land from the city and spent more than a decade raising more than $100,000 to pay for the monument’s construction.
“These things don’t happen just because they happen. They happen because people stand up, because people get engaged, because people celebrate, and because people say that they want something to happen,” said state Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, who helped secure
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