June 23, 2000
Puerto Rican war veterans have decided to return to President Clinton the medals and other decorations they received for defending the United States to protest the president's decision to authorize the resumption of bombing in Vieques.
Among the decorations that will be returned are several Purple Heart medals bestowed upon soldiers who were wounded in battle. The veterans fought in World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Somalia and Kosovo.
Luis Méndez, a spokesman for the Puerto Rico Chapter of Veterans for Peace, urged all Puerto Rican veterans to support the people of Vieques. He said the decision by the veterans to give up their medals "symbolizes our position that the safety and health of the people of Vieques are not negotiable, and that the concept of national security is now being used to mean the defense of the economic interests of the military and industrial complex of the U.S."
Veteran Rubén Lind said, "As veterans, we know first-hand the pain and destruction of war. We don't want any more war games in Vieques. Viequenses have a right to life and to health."
On the web: www.veteransforpeace.org/vieques.htm