PERTH AMBOY – The Puerto Rican Association for Human Development Inc. (PRAHD) in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month is hosting a special screening of the documentary film “The Borinqueneers” followed by a discussion with the producer and veterans from the 65th Infantry Regiment.
The screening will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. at Perth Amboy High School, 300 Eagle Avenue, Perth Amboy. The event is free of charge but you must call to make reservations due to limited seating.
The hour-long documentary chronicles the history of the 65th Infantry Regiment, the only all-Hispanic unit in the history of the U.S. Army. The regiment was nicknamed “The Borinqueneers,” a term derived from the Taino Indian word for Puerto Rico meaning “land of the brave lord.”
Narrated by Hector Elizondo, the award-winning film relies on interviews with the regiment’s veterans and rare archival footage to trace the unique experience of the 65th, culminating in the Korean War and the dramatic events that would threaten its very existence.
Following the screening, a panel discussion with director and producer Noemi Figueroa Soulet, military historian Col. Gilberto Villahermosa (USA, Ret.) and 65th Infantry Regiment veterans will be moderated by Steve Adubato Jr., Ph.D., the Emmy Award-winning Anchor, Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and Author, “You Are the Brand.” The discussion will be taped for later broadcast. Also on display will be an archival photo exhibit of the Borinqueneers.
“We are proud to host this important documentary and we are thrilled that the filmmaker and veterans will be attending to discuss the role of the Borinqueneers in U.S. history,” said Yvonne Lopez, the executive director and CEO of PRAHD. “This is a great opportunity for everyone, not just Puerto Ricans, to learn about Puerto Rican heritage and their contributions to America.”
Figueroa Soulet spent nine years researching the story and locating veterans of the regiment, some of whom have since passed away. In emotional interviews, they describe the experience of fighting together in vivid detail.
“Puerto Ricans occupy a very special place in the history of the U.S. Army,” Figueroa Soulet said. “As a former colony and now a commonwealth, we don’t have the right to vote in U.S. elections, and yet we serve in the military and we can be drafted. It’s a paradox, but for many of the veterans of the 65th it became an incentive to be even more patriotic, to prove themselves in battle 200 percent.”
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