Update #3 ·

Congressional Gold Medal Bills Pass!

As we honor our fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day, we pray for those who never made it back home.  And yet it seems a fitting time to pay homage to the service of our Borinqueneer veterans. This past week, the House of Representatives and the Senate did this by unanimously approving H.R. 1726 and S. 1174, the two legislative bills that will award the veterans of the 65th Infantry Regiment with one of the highest civilian awards of this country  – the Congressional Gold Medal.  The bill will now be forwarded to Pres. Obama for signature.  Our congratulations to all the veterans of the 65th Infantry Regiment!  It is indeed a great history-making honor!! 

An excerpt from a Hartford Courant article published on May 23rd states:  “Once the bill is signed into law, officials at the U.S. Mint discuss potential designs for the medal with bill sponsors and representatives of the honorees. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury chooses a design from several different sketches.  The approved design is sculptured and the medal is struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The Mint then notifies the White House and arrangements are made for a formal presentation by the president, which usually takes place in Washington, D.C.  The original medal remains in the custody of the Smithsonian Institution, but other locations associated with the 65th Infantry Regiment can petition to receive the medal on loan for display.” 

We at El Pozo Productions are extremely proud of the efforts we have made to help make this occasion a reality.  Over the years, we have formed close bonds with many Borinqueneer veterans and have gained their trust and respect.  For more than a year, we reached out to our 65th Infantry database of veterans, their families and all of our supporters and helped them write letters or call their politicians to gain the necessary co-sponsorship support.  It was many hours of laboring on the phone, sending emails, talking to staff members, meeting with politicians, etc.  It is especially meaningful to us because our connection with the 65th Infantry Regiment began back in 1998 when we started producing the documentary film, “The Borinqueneers” and we feel that we had a significant impact on educating the public about the regiment and its great accomplishments.

But we only played a small part in this huge CGM campaign which involved probably hundreds (if not thousands) of people all working together for the common goal of obtaining this great medal for our Borinqueneers.  People from all parts of this country that were mostly connected via the internet.  Whether a small effort (sending out an email) or a large effort (arranging face-to-face meetings with politicians), everyone did their part.  In particular, I want to commend Mr. Frank Medina, Chair of the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance and his team, who spearheaded this campaign.  They did an awesome job. 

The Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal honor was not just handed to us – we had to fight tooth and nail to get it and prove that our Borinqueneers had earned it.  One 65th veteran told us that when he met with his congressman, the congressman asked him “When did you become a U.S. citizen?”  He was obviously oblivious to the fact that Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917.  But we used this great American political as citizens to voice our wishes that the Borinqueneers be recognized along with the other minority units that had received the CGM and the system worked!   Congratulations to all who worked hard on this campaign... and especially to our Borinqueneer veterans. We will keep you all informed of any upcoming events.

El Pozo Productions  (www.borinqueneers.com)

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