Pelosi Remarks at Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring the 65th Infantry Regiment

Apr 13, 2016
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at the Gold Medal Ceremony honoring the 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Good afternoon, everyone.  It is my honor to join our Speaker and our leaders in the Senate in welcoming you all to the Capitol on this very special day for all of us.  It is a privilege to have each one of you here along with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs [Robert] McDonald and Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy.  I’m pleased to join Leader McConnell and Leader Reid in this very personal Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony. 

“It is such a special day to join our colleague Resident Commissioner Pierluisi who is part of the sponsorship of this legislation, and thank all the other sponsors as well.  Our advocate for this in the House of Representatives, Nydia Velázquez who is here with us today.


“And of course, a special honor to welcome Governor [Javier García] Padilla [of Puerto Rico] to the Capitol. 


“Just in case everyone hadn’t been introduced, we had to go over it some more.

“It is an honor to join all of you as we bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on the legendary, proudful, dignified 65th Infantry Regiment.  Honor et Fidelitas.  Honor and fidelity.  So rings the motto of this courageous regiment of Americans.  First formed, as it has been said, as a unit of Puerto Rican volunteers, this unit was redesignated as the 65th Infantry Regiment in 1920. 

“With honor and fidelity, the 65th Infantry overcame prejudice and bigotry, and wrote a new chapter of heroism in our shared American story.  That is part of their legacy.  In the Panama Canal Zone in World War One; later on the doorstep of Nazi Germany; in the defining crucible of the Korean War, and beyond, the Borinqueneers protected freedom abroad and advanced dignity for Puerto Rican and Latino Americans at home.

“In the Korean War in particular, the Borinqueneers astounded their commanders with their spectacular valor and courage.  They taught lessons, they enriched our nation with the strength of their service, through the excellence of their example, and by the power of their bravery. 

“The Borinqueneers’ valor under fire is nothing short of legendary – and it is no accident the first Latino [four-star] general in the U.S. Army, General Richard Cavazos, is a proud veteran of the 65th Infantry.  I believe he’s with us here today.  General, are you here? Please rise and be acknowledged. 


“The first [Latino] four-star general.

“I should speak directly to your heroic service, all of you, truly one of the great American stories.  It’s not just about what you did then, which is a proud legacy  and a dignified legacy, it’s also the fact that others from the Latino American community – Puerto Ricans and others – followed in your footsteps and are a very important part of the national security of our country. 

“I know that my colleagues would agree that wherever we travel in the world to visit our men and women in uniform – including in the U.S. hospitals – we see and meet Latino American brave men and women in uniform who are fighting, who have fought for our country.   You should take some satisfaction in your leadership role that is part of your legacy.


“Again, as Senator Blumenthal mentioned, this regiment stands amongst some of the most honored names in American military history – units who overcame the worst brands of discrimination for the right to defend our country.

“Today, we add to the rolls of our most courageous and trailblazing Congressional Gold Medal honorees: The Native American Code Talkers; The Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion and the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team; The Tuskegee Airmen and the Montford Point Marines.

“Imagine, they were out there fighting for freedom – you were out there fighting for freedom – while being deprived of it in many cases at home.  Again, you are were making America more American. 

“To these ranks of these heroes, it is our privilege to add the 65th Infantry Regiment – to the veterans of the 65th Infantry Regiment with us today and to your families who shared your sacrifices and contribution to America, to all those around the country, thank you.

“Thank you for your service, your leadership, your courage.  Thank you for your honor, and for your fidelity.  Thank you for defending freedom and enriching our great democracy.  Thank you for blessing America with your service.  God bless you, God bless America.” 

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