April 17th, 1961: On this date in history, over 1,400 Cubans, members of La Brigada 2506, stormed the beach at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to rid their country of a vile and bloodthirsty dictator and restore freedom on the island. Unbeknownst to them, President John F. Kennedy had already made a last minute decision to pull back the military support they were depending on and was an integral part of their invasion plan. Outnumbered by more than 10-to-1, these brave men continued to fight valiantly against the dictatorship’s forces even after they realized they had been betrayed and abandoned by the U.S. president and left there to either die or be captured. Retreat was not an option, either tactically or morally. They were determined to fight for their country until the very last bullet, and that is exactly what the brave members of La Brigada 2506 did.
Fifty-one years later, the men of La Brigada 2506 have become legends not only for the Cuban community, but for the U.S. as well. Their courage and their honor has been evident for more than five decades and has served as an inspiration for several generations. In spite of being shamelessly betrayed, the survivors have never spoken ill of the U.S., and many of them went on to serve loyally in the American military. This stands in stark contrast to others who have done everything they can to place the blame for this travesty on these brave men who were viciously deceived and portray their betrayer as the victim. However, no amount of revisionist history will change the facts. Today and always, the honorable men of La Brigada 2506 will be known for their legendary courage and fierce fighting in the face of unbeatable odds.
On this day, the 51st anniversary of their attack, I bow my head in prayer and honor for these men. I thank them for their courage, and I thank them for making me proud to be a Cuban.