Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke at the Borinqueneers Florida Honor Ceremony in Orlando on August 5th. The members of the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Borinqueneers,” recently received the Congressional Gold Medal for their valiant service through most of the 20th century.
The Borinqueneers were the only Hispanic segregated unit in the U.S. Army. The unit was first brought together in 1898, before Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship in 1917, and was brought into the regular Army early in the 20th century. The unit was disbanded when legal segregation ended in the U.S. in the 1960s.
More than 31 members of the regiment gathered in Orlando for the event. Each received a certificate commemorating his service. The exact number of participants is uncertain. Observers said that more certificates were being filled out as the event ended. Members of the regiment are now in their 70s, 80s, or 90s.
Senator Rubio spoke in Spanish and in English. He was quoted by Orlando Latino as saying, “I say ‘thank you’ to the Borinqueneers. Thank you for your service and thank you for serving this nation, the best mankind has ever known.”