NEW BRITAIN – The New Britain Veterans Commission and Mayor Erin Stewart will host a ceremony Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. honoring Borinqueneers Day.
The ceremony will take place at the Borinqueneers Monument, located at 246 Beaver St.
The Borinqueneers were a group of mostly Puerto Rican soldiers, 65th Regiment of the U.S. Army, which was formed out of Puerto Rico in 1899. However, the unit included other nationalities that were segregated from other service members like Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Filipinos and Virgin Islanders. The unit was renamed the Borinqueneers in 1920 because ‘Borinquen’ refers to the name of the indigenous people on the island before the Spanish arrived.
The Borinqueneers fought in both world wars and the Korean War. The Borinqueneer soldiers were recognized with various combat awards including more than 2,700 Purple Hearts, a Medal of Honor, nine Distinguished Service Crosses, more than 250 Silver Stars and more than 600 Bronze Stars. In 2016, they were recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Each year on April 13 their service is honored.
On April 21, 2018, a monument was dedicated in honor of the 65th Regiment, which cost about $300,000 in state funding.
In 2019, the monument was vandalized with the words “235 North St.” spray painted on it and a medallion that honors the wars the Borinqueneers fought in was also removed. New Britain police investigated and charged Michael Sharpe, 20, with first-degree criminal mischief. The Public Works department worked to remove the graffiti. The New Britain Latino Coalition created a GoFundMe page with a goal of $25,000 to help with repairing the monument.