To the Editor:
It’s been more than a month and a half since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico.
My hometown, Ponce, is still not fully serviced by drinking water or electricity. My nephew’s neighborhood finally received electrical service on Nov. 5. They were so happy, they lit fireworks. I would have, too, after 45 days.
By this time, many in the U.S. have learned that Puerto Rico is an American territory, that they are American citizens by birth (since 1917) and that Spain ceded the island to the US during the Spanish American War of 1898.
There’s a few bits of information that may further expand the knowledge of those wanting to know. Only American ships (crew and registration) are allowed to enter Puerto Rico’s ports (that caused a delay of diesel fuel from Canada during the crisis).
They don’t have representation in Congress nor can they vote in presidential elections. Yet, they have participated in every war since World War I as follows: WWI 20,000; WWII 53,000; Korea 61,000; Vietnam 48,000, and a large number in the war against terrorism.
As far as killed in action, numbers are presently unavailable for WWI and WWII, but 756 were killed in Korea in addition to 127 missing in action and 2,700 wounded. Vietnam saw 345 killed in action and 3,000 wounded. The war on terror has, so far, taken around 40 lives and many wounded.
To me, that’s an impressive history for an island 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. Their economy was in bad shape before Maria.
Imagine it now. Do they deserve all available assistance?
You be the judge.
P. C. Santiago
retired master sergeant