ORLANDO, Fla. — Since 2021, April 13th has been recognized as National Borinqueneers Day in the United States.
The day is meant to honor the 65th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army, which was largely composed of Puerto Rican soldiers.
The regiment distinguished itself for bravery with members fighting in both world wars and the Korean War while enduring discrimination and generally unfair treatment.
According to the 2020 Senate resolution designating April 13th as National Borinqueneers Day, Congress first authorized raising a volunteer military unit on the island of Puerto Rico in 1899, a year after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States.
Then known as the “Puerto Rico Regiment of Volunteer Infantry,” they were sent to Panama to defend the Panama Canal Zone after the United States entered World War I.
In 1920, they were re-designated as the 65th Infantry Regiment of the army.
During World War II, the 65th served in North Africa and Europe, including combat operations that earned the unit commendations for valiant service and 90 Purple Hearts.
The 65th Infantry Regiment earned the nickname “Borinqueneers” in 1950 during the Korean War where they were commended for combat operations that played a central role in the conflict.
The name honors the Taino Indians who were the native inhabitants of Puerto Rico, or Borinquen.
Today, on #NationalBorinqueneersDay, we honor the bravery of the 65th Infantry Regiment. Made up mostly of Puerto Rican National Guardsmen, this unit fought with distinction in the Korean War. Florida is home to many of these heroes and we are grateful for their service! pic.twitter.com/FbZUJvu654
— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FDACS) April 13, 2022
The Borinqueneers’ service during the Korean War earned the unit another 2,700 Purple Hearts, as well as one Medal of Honor and nine Distinguished Service Crosses.
The 65th Infantry Regiment was deactivated from regular U.S. Army service in 1956 and assigned to the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1959.
In 2016, the 65th was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their contributions throughout United States military history.
In 2020, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included the language designating April 13 as National Borinqueneers Day.
President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution, but that veto was overridden by Congress, making it law.
The first National Borinqueneers Day was recognized on April 13, 2021.
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