8/20 San Juan, Puerto Rico In The City (9)

– English.
– Okay, this [inaudible] says, “Welcome to the 65th Infantry Regiment.” This insignia here [inaudible]. [Inaudible] everybody, because the Puerto Ricans, our 65th infantry was [inaudible], and it’s still commemorated for the Korean War. And let me tell you, I talked [—–]. After 50 years, I went back to Korea, and I was so happy, because Korea today looks so [——]. [inaudible]. [inaudible[, and are waiting for people to remember us and talk about the 65th infantry regiment. It was amazing. I feel so good we have this display here. [inaudible]. It is me. And I’m proud to be a Korean veteran. And to the Korean people, Salaam-Alaikum. [Inaudible].
– … of us, you know. We’re so grateful to you as well, you know? I’m so happy you said that we [—–].
– God bless.
– Thank you.
– Anita?
– Anita, my granddaughter.
– SÍ.
– SÍ.
– So, snow… I have, because [inaudible] in the United States, but we had two enemies. The enemy and also the snow, because it was really, really cold, and some of our men had to be amputated, because they got gangrene for the cold. And I tell you, it was terrible. But we made it, and, some of them… we have the man in Puerto Rico, who’s half maim. We had to amputate his legs.
– Frost bite.
– Frost bite, yeah.
– How many died, how many were killed in action?
– Wow. Too many.
– 70%.
– 70%?
– 17.
– 70. 7 – 0. 70% of the Puerto Rican heroes were killed in action.
– 70?
– 7- 0.
– My uncle, which was a soldier with the 65th infantry.
– How many…?
– I’ll look it up.
– 70%.
– But the round number… 70%.
– The funny thing is about my uncle, we never found out what happened to him, because…
– He’s MIA?
– I don’t know if he was a prisoner of war, but we never found his body.
– So he’s missing in action.
– Of course. As I already said, I’m going to dedicate my life for our veterans, because I miss my uncle.
– The records’ keeping at that time, remember…
– I know.
– There was a language barrier.
– I know.
– So… and there was a war going on.
– And there aren’t…
– So records got lost.
– And because the war hasn’t ended, you know, it’s difficult to identify the remains, or retrieve the remains. And so there are 8000 MIAs, POW in Korea, which is… you know…
– There might be some alive, but I doubt it, cause it’s such a long time. But I hope one day… they’ll return all these people to us. [—-].
– It’s something that’s very dear to my heart, so… Because the families will never know what happened to them.
– No closure.
– Yeah, no closure.
-Okay, my name is Thomas Lopez. I’m Puerto Rican, of course, and I’m part of the 65th infantry regiment. And let me tell you, they call me a hero, because [—-] the 65th infantry complete. [—-], because [—-] in Puerto Rico, they sent me some kind of… like a plaque, considering me a hero. It was not only Tommy Lopez, it was all the 65th infantry, represented. And when I went to Korea of course I’m going to talk about the cold, because it was really… the Puerto Rican, we’re not used to that kind of weather, and we had two enemies. The enemy and also the cold. And as a matter of fact, we have people, as I told you before, that became… A man in Puerto Rico that was half a man, because we had to amputate his whole legs. And a lot of them suffered the cold. [—-] being an infantry man, because we had to communicate in English, in Spanish. They sent me to school in Seoul, and I learned communications in Korea, and when I went back, I was [——-] for the big, big, big [—-] in charge of the 65th infantry regiment in Korea. And that made me feel so proud. But I’ll never forget those who still were fighting in Korea, because they were my people, and as A Puerto Rican I love [—-]. And thank you, thanks to you, Anita, because you make me feel so good, so happy. I wish you to continue learning with the 65th infantry, because we have to recognize [—-]. Personal recognition to Anita [….], thank you so very much. God bless. Okay, first of all, we should go up to the schools and teach our kids about the 65th Borinqueneers. A lot of people don’t ever recognize, no, when we’re in Korea, and in this personal memories that I still have should be distributed within the kids, to have an idea what it is to defend this great country, which is America. It’s my country too. I was born in Puerto Rico, but I became a citizen. When I was born in 1917, it was tough to be citizen, because we used to belong to Spain, and when they came to… the war between America and the other countries, we became citizens. [——] made us citizens. So I’ve been a citizen all of my life, since I was small, that’s right. But there’s one thing I’ll say. There was a smart kid [—–] and lifting the flag. There’s the [—-] reason the Puerto Rican flag, and wherever place I go, I make sure I take my flag too, because it represents the 65th infantry, the Borinqueneers. And this is why I want the kids to learn and to know the history, and love this great country. First, I’ll say thank you to the Korean people, because I love you. And also, such a big change made me feel so proud and so clean about Korea. The people dress so nice, everybody, [—-] people. And of course, [—-] before, we did the other… [—] and many evangelistic churches, and we’re happy we had a chance to some of them. [—–] was so happy that we were there.
– Well, you deserve to be treated like kings.
– Thank you.
– Hi, thank you, Hannah. Yeah, so, the 65th infantry regiment of Puerto Rico fought in every major campaign of the United States wars, from World War I to World War II and Korea. But they distinguished themselves during the Korean conflict. The Korean conflict was 3 years. The Puerto Rican regiment was a regiment sized military unit. So, they fought in 9 major campaigns, from the battle of the chosen reservoir, where they were the frozen chosen, to the evacuation of Hungnam, and most famously was the bayonet charge of February 2nd, in 1951, where 2 battalions of the regiment encountered the Chinese 149th division. Now, a division is made up of 10,000 men, and a battalion is made up of approximately 1,000 men. So, there are your contrasts. So the numbers were basically, you know, 10 to 1, right? 100 to 1. So they fought valiantly for 3 days. They fought so valiantly, that the order came down to fix… the order came back to fix – the memories came back – the order came back to fix bayonets. The bayonet was fixed to their rifles. The order was given to charge, and they fought almost basically hand to hand in a very ferocious battle. As the culmination of that battle, there was the sound of a bugle. The bugle sounded withdrawal. It was the sound of the Chinese bugle, which called their units to withdraw. Now, there were 7% casualties. They left no men behind. They brought back all of their wounded. They brought back the story of what occurred to their commanders, the commanders brought that back to us, and now we bring that story back to you. So, as a culmination of that distinction, that gallantry in the field of battle that even the enemy had to bow in respect to this kind of worthy opponent. So it took us approximately 65 years to bring attention to… the military, where they had to prove themselves, they had to contend not only with the elements and with [—-], but with a ferocious enemy. They proved themselves time and again in their ingenuity, in their gallantry, in their bravery in battle. And then even after such, here, 65 years later, I gather together the remnant of these veterans to be in the 65th infantry on a task force, to help educate the public, help educate the congress, to help bring attention to their magnificent story to the American landscape, which culminated in the award of the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest award that the people to the United States can give any military unit. and in their gratitude as well, the people of Korea, and the government of Korea, awarded each of the Korean veterans this friendship medal, and also the Ambassador for Peace medal, so…
– Smile! Look here!