BORINQUENEERS OF PUERTO RICO

Artist: Felix Burgos
Writer: Margaret Mandell

A Congressional Gold Medal that was 60 years in the making. 

This series of paintings is dedicated to the father and uncles of Felix Burgos, as well as the other brave men of the 65th Infantry. 

On April 13, 2016, President Obama presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico. 

It was a day filled with great pride and acknowledgement of the sacrifice and bravery the Borinqueneers demonstrated during both World Wars and the Korean War. 

But it was also an honor that was hard fought and took 60 years to attain. 

The 65th Infantry was nicknamed “the Borinqueneers” after Borinquen, the original name given by the Taino Indians to Puerto Rico, meaning “land of the brave lord.” 

A fitting moniker for the men of the largest, longstanding, and only active duty Latino military unit who distinguished themselves on the field while enduring racial prejudice and segregation. 

The 65th Infantry displayed great patriotism and courage, fighting their greatest battles during the Korean War. Under orders to take two hills being held by the Chinese below the South Korean capital of Seoul, two battalions of the 65th Infantry fixed bayonets and charged the enemy. After three days of intense fighting, the Chinese fled. In fact, the victory was so impressive, they earned high praise from General MacArthur, along with more than 2,700 Purple Hearts. 

And finally, the sweetest victory of all. The Congressional Gold Medal.