By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Angel Rosario is a gate opener.
If it weren't for men like him, men like Killeen City Councilman Juan Rivera wouldn't have the opportunities they do today, Rivera said Friday.
Rivera and City Manager Connie Green led a celebration Friday in honor of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment.
The 65th is the only all-Hispanic unit in the history of the U.S. Army. It was created in 1899 to help re-establish law and order on Puerto Rico following its seizure during the Spanish-American War, according to information from the city. The regiment participated in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
It is also the only unit to ever be transferred from active duty to the National Guard upon its deactivation in 1956.
Rosario is a veteran of that unit, serving from 1947 to 1976 and fighting in the Vietnam and Korean Wars.
He served proudly, Rivera said, opening doors for other Puerto Ricans and showing just how important the island and its people are to the United States.
Rivera served in the Army for 27 years before entering politics.
"Only in America could I do this," he said.
Also honored at the ceremony were members of the Borinqueneers Riding Club, an organization of motorcyclists who ride in honor of the 65th Infantry. Members from the Killeen, Dallas, Connecticut and Pennsylvania clubs attended Friday's presentation.
Rivera thanked Rosario and those like him for his and the riders' ability to wear the colors of Puerto Rico behind them.
"We wear them with pride and honor," he said.
It is important to be recognized after so many years, Rosario said. It makes him proud and the recognition builds the morale of other 65th Infantry soldiers.
"I'm glad this happened," he said.
The 65th Infantry was celebrated a year ago in Killeen when League of United Latin American Citizens Council 4535 brought together its Texas veterans for a showing of the documentary, "The Borinqueneers."
The film features interviews with veterans and archival footage to trace the experiences of its soldiers.
For more information on the film and the regiment, go to www.borinqueneers.com.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547.