Excerpt: Soldiers of the Nation

UNP blog

The following is an excerpt from Soldiers of the Nation: Military Service and Modern Puerto Rico, 1868-1952 (June 2018) by Harry Franqui-Rivera.

During the summer of 2001 I interviewed several Korean War veterans in Puerto Rico. Those interviews were part of my research on the renowned 65th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Borinqueneers. I hoped the interviews would bring a more personal feeling to my project. But those veterans did more than that. They opened my eyes to larger historical processes. Many described themselves as jíbaros, as humble Puerto Rican rural folks. When I met them, they no longer lived off the land. In fact, after the war many finished high school and attended vocational schools and colleges. They set up small and medium-sized businesses, from the local colmado and barra to an engineering contracting firm and everything in between. Some became local leaders or assemblymen or joined…

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