This Sunday is the 57th annual National Puerto Rican Parade. Leading it this year will be a distinguished group of military members. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez has the story.
Pointing to the foxhole he slept in for three days waiting for the enemy 84 year old Tomas Lopez recalls his days fighting with the 65th Infantry Regiment known as the Borinqueneers.
"We participated in so much combat during the Korean War,” said Lopez.
Lopez and thousands of other Puerto Ricans who fought in the military group have been recognized many times for their heroism including by President George H.W. Bush. This weekend a new honor, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be dedicated to them.
"This is amazing for me and to all the Puerto Rican people who participated during the Korean War and all the wars,” Lopez said.
A documentary called “The Borinqueneers” traces the history of the 65th Infantry Regiment which was mandated by Congress in 1899 and was sent to fight in all American Wars including World War I and World War II. Their nickname comes from the indigenous name of the island. More than 60 thousand Puerto Rican soldiers went to Korea where a large percentage of them were killed. Eugenio Quevedo got there in 1950.
"All the guys we were like brothers there. I remember each one of them,” said Quevedo.
Just this week President Obama received the bill to award the 65th Infantry Regiment the Congressional Gold Medal. He's expected to sign it this month.
And the city council is among their supporters. Last week City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito introduced a resolution supporting the national honor, which passed unanimously.
"I'm so happy about that Congressional gold medal because I believe we deserve it,” said Lopez.
"I'm very proud. It's an honor to receive that medal for that unit. It's not for any individual but for the whole unit,” said Quevedo.
Both the medal legislation and the parade dedication in tribute to all the Borinqueneers' courage and sacrifice.