A bill shepherded through the House of Representatives last week by U.S. Rep. Darren Soto to rename a Kissimmee post office for the Puerto Rican “Borinqueneers” U.S. Army regiment now is getting pushed in the U.S. Senate by Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.
The bill, House Resolution 4042, intends to rename the Kissimmee post office to honor the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, first established in Puerto Rico in 1898, and which was recognized for fighting with valor in World War II and the Korean War among others. The regiment was known as the “Borinqueneers,” named after the historic inhabitants of the island. In 2014 the Borinqueneers were honored with Congressional Gold Medals.
Soto, an Orlando Democrat with Puerto Rican heritage whose district includes Kissimmee, introduced the bill in October and it was approved by unanimous consent in the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday. On Monday Rubio and Nelson wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs urging swift and full support.
“That’s great,” said Dennis Freytes, a Central Florida Puerto Rican activist who is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and professor of military science at the University of Puerto Rico, and whose father, Celio Freytes-Menendez, was a Borinqueneer who fought in both World War II and Korea. “I think it is a great honor that the 65th U.S. Infantry receives of their glorious fight for our flag, for all of us, since 1898.”