Obama To Sign Bill Awarding Borinqueneers the Congressional Gold Medal on Tuesday
June 9, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - President Obama is expected to sign a bill giving some Puerto Rican Army veterans the Congressional Gold Medal for their service Tuesday morning. Many of the so-called Borinqueneers live in Central Florida, and will be in Washington, D.C. for the ceremony.
An undated photo of the Borinqueneers, via the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance.
The Borinqueneers were part of an Army regiment of Puerto Ricans who fought alongside fellow servicemen in World Wars I and II and the Korean War.
Many of them have since passed away, but the push to award them the Congressional Gold Medal reached a fever pitch recently as both the House and Senate passed bills doing just that.
Now, over 100 years after the 65th Infantry Regiment's founding in 1899, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
Frank Medina of the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance says the living veterans feel relieved they’re finally being recognized:
“A lot of them definitely see this as emotional closure. A lot of them see this as redemption. A lot of them see this as a closing chapter in a drawn out endeavor."
Medina says the call to grant them the Congressional Gold Medal came from more than just the Puerto Rican community.
“This, not only did it transcend geographic boundaries, but it transcended cultural and racial boundaries," Medina says. "There were Anglos, African Americans, Asians, Mexican Americans, Native Americans that definitely pitched in and called their local Congressmen and Senators.”
Florida reportedly has the highest number of Borinqueneers in the United States.