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Puerto Rico's Proud Military History

Puerto Rico’s modern role in the defense of the nation since Sept. 11


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Continuing the Herald’s video series honoring the military service of Puerto Rican men and women, this segment glimpses at Puerto Rico’s modern role in the defense of the nation since the beginning of the war on terrorism, initiated after the devastating attacks from the sky on September 11, 2001.

Shortly after the hijacked airliner smashed into the Pentagon, a detachment of the Puerto Rico National Guard arrived in Arlington to provide security and help in the clean-up. Puerto Rican Army Reserve units were already serving in Kosovo at the time of the tragedy but quickly organized to meet the new needs of the nation. As the actions in Afghanistan began and the build-up for Iraq commenced, Guard and Reserve outfits from the island were mobilized to meet the challenge. Also, thousands of Puerto Ricans in the regular forces read orders dispatching their units to the Middle East and South Asia.

Today, as the conflict continues, grieving Puerto Rican parents and spouses lament the deaths and injuries suffered by their loved ones, aware that Boricuas have borne this national burden in numbers disproportionate to their population.

In their response to the nation’s modern military needs, the words spoken by General William W. Harris, Commander of the 65th Infantry Regiment over half century ago, apply today. "No ethnic group has greater pride in itself and its heritage than the Puerto Rican people. Nor have I encountered any that can be more dedicated and zealous in support of the democratic principles for which the United States stands. Many Puerto Ricans have fought to the death to uphold them."

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