This week, dozens of aging veterans made their way to Washington D.C. Early on the morning of Wednesday, April 13, they completed an almost mandatory circuit taking them from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery to the World War II and Korean War memorials in the National Mall. They took part in wreath laying ceremonies at these monuments–an act of remembrance and respect for those fallen in combat and the ones still missing. Many of the veterans couldn’t contain their tears as the bugle played “Taps”. Who knows where the melody transported them? Did they remember battles fought? Friends lost? The terror of war? The pride they felt for their service? The price they paid in their youth?
This scene is a common occurrence at these sites. Veterans from the many wars this country has fought find their way to these monuments triggering memories of days long gone and reopening unhealed, invisible wounds. This time, the majority of these veterans were Puerto Ricans who fought in the Korean War with the 65th U.S. Army Infantry Regiment—also known as el sesenta y cinco de infantería. Regardless of where they came from they were all Borinqueneers.