The nine men share a prestigious status – each awarded the highest military decoration a U.S. service member can earn for valor.

Puerto Rico’s nine Medal of Honor recipients are now also recognized with a new monument on the campus of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. After years of planning and fund-raising, a seven-foot red granite obelisk was dedicated Sunday afternoon to the men – eight of whom served in the Army, one in the Marines.

Keynote speaker Joe Rodriguez, a nephew of Medal of Honor recipient Miguel A. Vera, is flanked by the flags of Puerto Rico and the United States and the new obelisk.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Keynote speaker Joe Rodriguez, a nephew of Medal of Honor recipient Miguel A. Vera, is flanked by the flags of Puerto Rico and the United States and the new obelisk.

The monument is part of the 42-acre Medal of Honor Grove at the Freedoms Foundation, said to be the oldest living memorial to the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients. Since its original dedication in the 1960s, original fiberglass obelisks with the names of the state or territory from which medal recipients entered the military have been replaced with granite ones as funds became available.

The Latin American Legion Post 840 and Auxiliary Unit 840, along with Mark Prowell, chairman of Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, led the effort to raise about $50,000 to cover the cost of the Puerto Rico obelisk, the brick plaza on which it sits, granite benches, and landscaping, said Freedoms Foundation spokesperson Kevin Ferris.

Jose Rodriguez, a veteran, Florida businessman and nephew of a Medal of Honor recipient, Army Private Miguel A. Vera (Korea), was the keynote speaker at Sunday’s dedication ceremony.

The Medal of Honor for fallen soldier Miguel A. Vera.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
The Medal of Honor for fallen soldier Miguel A. Vera.

Joining Vera’s name on the monument are those of Marine Private First Class Fernando L. Garcia (Korea), Army Capt. Euripides Rubio (Vietnam), Army Private First Class Carlos J. Lozada (Vietnam), Army Spec. 4 Hector Santiago-Colon (Vietnam), Army Capt. Humbert R. Versace (Vietnam), Army Staff Sgt. Felix Conde-Falcon (Vietnam),Army Sgt. Juan E. Negron (Korea), and Army Private Demensio Rivera (Korea).