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04-17-06, 07:30 PM #1
45 years ago today some brave Men tried to go home.
Remember those who didnt come back.
The torch lit in their honor flickered behind them. The names of the killed were read aloud. Sunglasses covered the tears on some faces as bad memories came flooding back.
For more than 100 veterans from the Bay of Pigs, Monday marked not only the 45th anniversary of the failed invasion, but a chance to see and embrace some of their fellow combatants from so long ago. They met at 10 a.m. in front of the Bay of Pigs memorial torch on Cuban Memorial Boulevard in Little Havana.
Felix Rodriguez, president of the Brigade 2506 veterans association led a group of former fighters in the reading of the names of fellow soldiers who died before, during and after the invasion, a solemn stretch of words that lasted 15 minutes.
''We're near the end of the tyrant,'' said Rodriguez, trying to address the palpable frustration in the crowd that Fidel Castro remains as Cuba's leader in a one-party state. ``We want a free, independent, democratic Cuba. Not a succession from one group to another.''
One notable VIP in attendance was Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who expressed his admiration for Brigade 2506.
''These people didn't talk, they actually did something,'' Alvarez said. ``But it hasn't changed. Every Cuban American wants to see a democratic form of government in Cuba.''
One April 17, 1961, about 1,500 Cuban exiles invaded the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba. The invasion collapsed in the next three days, as Castro's army outnumbered the exiles, and President John F. Kennedy decided not to provide crucial air support.
More than 100 exiles were killed before, during and after the invasion, and almost 1,300 were taken prisoner. Most of the prisoners were released in a general amnesty the following year.
One Brigade 2506 veteran present at the ceremony was Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto, who was part of an infiltration team that went ashore in Las Villas before the invasion to try to foment a counterrevolution.
Souto eluded capture by seeking asylum in the Brazilian embassy, he said.
Another veteran, Alfredo Oliva Sr., 63, became teary-eyed after the names of fallen colleagues were read. Oliva never disembarked at Bay of Pigs. He was one of several soldiers who patrolled the coast of Cuba's Oriente province from a boat. He was 18 at the time, among the youngest in Brigade 2506.
''For me it's very difficult to accept that it's been 45 years since the Bay of Pigs, and almost 50 years since Castro has been in power,'' Oliva said, ``but we go halfway around the world to Iraq to spread freedom and democracy when this tyrant remains 90 miles from our shores.''
04-17-06, 10:40 PM #2UK police officer
- Join Date
- England, UK
- Rep Power
lest we forget'The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.'
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