User:Marine 69-71

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`One day I asked myself "Who are we (as Puerto Ricans)?"
"What contributions have we made to society in the fields of the Arts, Education, Science, Military and Literature?"
That's when I decided to become a writer`
-Tony the Marine-

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My name is Tony a.k.a. "Tony the Marine". My wife's name is Milly and I am the proud father of Antonio, Jose and Nilda, and the grandfather of two beautiful girls named Isabel and Nina. I am the Editor of the Puerto Rican Military History Channel of "El Boricua" a monthly cultural magazine, a Staff writer in "Somos Primos" an internet magazine dedicated to "Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues" and the Official Historian of the Association of Naval Service Officers.

I was born the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, in New York, New York, more specifically in the South Bronx area where being a gang member was a way of life. I was raised in the mean streets (Simpson St.) of New York where I was a member of a gang called "The Torchmen" a branch of the "Crowns". When my family moved to Queens I created and led a gang called "The Vikings". Some people used to call me "The Man with the Gun".

When I was a child growing up in New York City, the only heroes that we "Hispanics" (note: that term hadn't even been coined then) had were "El Zorro", The "Cisco Kid" and "Speedy Gonzalez". Our history books failed to make mention of the numerous contributions which Hispanics have made to the formation of our country. I didn't know about our participation in the Revolutionary War nor about our heroes in the Civil War. As I grew older, I became aware that our people produced good singers and that in some cases some Hispanics were given minor stereotyped roles in Hollywood and that we had a Desi Arnez who was in love with Lucy in the television sitcom "I love Lucy", but that was it.

I was accepted in Columbia University but, instead I decided that I wanted to be a Marine. I was an active member of the United States Marine Corps from 1969 to 1971 and in the reserves until 1975, fighting in the Vietnam War. As I saw how many disparities there were between White soldiers and soldiers of ethnic minorities, I formed a group of soldiers within my company, one that included Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Central Americans and others. This group was named the Latin Power In unity. My friend and comrade Reese formed the Black Power group and our groups worked closely towards better treatment of minorities and to improve the relationship between the members of the other races in our company (H&S Co., 2/9 3rd. Marine Division). I also served in the Corps Military Police.

This, in turn, led me to view American politics on Puerto Rico differently. It also made me curious of my roots. I can honestly say that I am proud to be a Puerto Rican. I never returned to New York, I rather flew to San Juan, where I was supposed to visit my father for two weeks before returning home, but I met my future wife (my dad's neighbor) while in Puerto Rico, and decided to stay for twenty years. Because of what I saw, I am a strong believer that Puerto Rico should become an independent nation. At first, I became a follower of the ideals of the Puerto Rican Independence Party headed by Ruben Berrios, however now I believe that the PIP lacks true leadership and does not have an effective program which reaches out to the common person explaining the importance of saving our national identity. Does this make me a bad person? No, unless George Washington, Simon Bolivar and Ramón Emeterio Betances (not that I compare myself to them) were bad persons. Does this make me an anti-American? No, I was born in the U.S., served in the U.S.M.C. and my granddaughters are half "Anglo". I just believe that every nation has a right to its independence.

I enrolled in the Interamerican University and I majored in Business Administration and accounting. I was a magna cum laude student. I have also graduated from the Puerto Rican Real Estate Academy and the American Banking Institute with honors. I studied computers in the Polytechnical Institute of Caguas, Puerto Rico. I was the owner of R & S Sales Corp., a wholesale business and of other ventures.

It was Antonio, my son, who inspired me to become interested in this project. My main objective in Wikipedia is to educate others by writing mini-bios about the accomplishments of famous Puerto Ricans (including those of Puerto Rican descent), articles related to Puerto Rican History plus, I have set it upon myself as a goal to write about the positive contributions which we Hispanics have made to this country in general. I have written close to 600 of the best articles which you will ever read in Wikipedia.

In New York, I remember meeting Muhammad Ali and Nelson Rockefeller in person. It wasn't until several years later, however, that I would reunite with Ali, as my two sons and I share a passion, with capital letters, about autograph hunting. I have met Presidents, sports super-stars and entertainers during my family's autograph adventures. I have over 1,800 different autographed items.

My son Antonio, as you might have noticed by reading his works, is a huge fan of boxing and aviation. I can't say I show the same enthusiasm as he does for those two subjects, but I do enjoy boxing as well as baseball, and I am very enthusiastic about my son's airplane model collection. I also enjoy reading (especially about history and psychology) and listening to all kinds of music (rock, soul, salsa and the classics, Mozart etc.)

You can find me here in Wikipedia:User:Marine 69-71

Honored

I was interviewed by Joan Fragaszy a historian working at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University (http://chnm.gmu.edu/) they are very interested in digital historical works, including people writing history on Wikipedia.


I feel honored that "Virtual Boricua" has included four of my articles (Kirk Acevedo, Julia de Burgos, John Leguizamo and Edwin Torres (Judge)) among it's "Best Boricua Related Websites" links.


I have also the honor of being mentioned in "El Boricua", in the website's news page for my article on Emilio R. Esteves.


On September 2005, I was named Editor of the Puerto Rican Military History Channel of "El Boricua" a monthly cultural magazine.


On May 2006, ASPIRA Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture linked my User Page to their Famous Puertoricans biography section.


On August 1, 2006, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 109-253 which contains the biography of Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa, which I wrote.


On August 6, 2006, I received this e-mail "I also will be letting my listeners know about you and your site on sunday On WCLM AM radio in Richmond, Virginia"


On September 7, 2006, an article in the newspaper "Claridad" of Puerto Rico stated that "I am the Puerto Rican who has made the most contributions to Wikipedia"


On September 8, 2006, the President of the Puerto Rican Senate, Senator McClintock invited me for the unveiling of a monument on Memorial Day of 2007, as a result of my work in Wikipedia.


On October 27, 2006, I received an e-mail from the office of United States Congressman Jose Serrano, congratulating me on my work in Wikipedia stating that I should get in "touch" with them.


I was invited to and attended the reunion of the families of William Knouts and David M. Gonzales, recipient of the Medal of Honor, on Memorial Day of 2007 in Powder Springs, Georgia. I helped the Kouts family find the Gonzales family bringing to an end 62 years of searching. I was featured in the Arizona Republic [1].


On Memorial Day 2007, I was also honored in a speech by the President of the Puerto Rican Senate, the Honorable Kenneth McClintock for my work about Puerto Rico in Wikipedia.


On November 28, 2007, The Senate of Puerto Rico paid me a tribute and I was honored by the Senate of Puerto Rico with a Resolution # 3603 in recognition of my work on behalf of Puerto Rico in Wikipedia. The President of the Puerto Rican Senate, Honorable Kenneth McClintock presented me with the resolution.[2].


On January 30, 2008, I was featured in an article in the Phoenix Republic titled "Author details contributions of Puerto Ricans"[3]


On March 12,2008, I was named the Official Historian of the "Association of Naval Service Officers"[4]


On May 26, 2008, I was publicly recognized by the Government of Puerto Rico as a Historian who has written the biographies of prominent Puerto Ricans who have served in the military. Also, present in my recognition was the former President of the United States Bill Clinton and his wife, New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Brigadier General Hector E. Pagan, the Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army Special Warfare Center and School, presented me with a medal of excellence.[1][2]


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