Published On: Mon, May 26th, 2014

A Bronx Marine: Joel Mercado Remembers

mercado.borinqueneer1“I was only fortunate enough to see him twice in my life. When he asked to see me, after graduating boot camp. I arrived humble, but in my dress blues. I’ll never forget how he looked at me. He knew the guy at the corner store better than he knew me. But there was a solid glimmer of pride in his eyes. I never knew the amazing heritage and bloodline I came from. Until he died. He was so excited by my presence that he never spoke of himself. I learned at his funeral. That my absentee grandfather (whom I felt truly loved and missed me) was a  hero. I wanted to be a hero, never having known him. I was driven, to help, to serve. And facing him enlightened me as to where it may have been born. In him. Sgt. Jose Israel Mercado Pacheco. My grandfather. Mi abuelo.”

By Corporal Joel Mercado


My grandfather. 65th Infantry Regiment. The all Puerto Rican unit that fought in Korea and was the last unit in Army history to “fix bayonets”. They charged up hill to repel enemy assaults. Purple heart recipient. That’s what I raise my glass to this weekend.

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A Bronx Marine: Joel Mercado Remembers