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Symbols of Significance: The Pediments of the National Archives Building

October is American Archives Month! To celebrate the month dedicated to all things archives, we will feature weekly posts on the history of the National Archives. Today’s post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office.

Measuring 118 feet wide and 18 feet high at their peaks, the pediments on the north and south sides of the National Archives Building are the largest in Washington, DC. These grand pediments depict scenes that convey the purpose of the National Archives and contain rich symbols of the Archives’ significance to the nation.

When he set out to design a national hall of records, architect John Russell Pope sought to create a neoclassical building of monumental size and design. This meant that the structure would be embellished with ornate, symbolic sculptural details, inspired by the art and architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pope wrote, “In view of the classic spirit in which the design of the building was conceived, it was considered essential by the architect and the sculptors that allegory rather than realism be the means of conveying the significance of the sculptural decoration.”

The pediment on the north side of the building, facing Pennsylvania Avenue, was designed by accomplished sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman and is titled Destiny. The figure at the center symbolizes Destiny. He is seated, staring intensely from a throne on which rest two eagles, symbols of the United States and of courage.

Photograph of the Pennsylvania Avenue Entrance of the National Archives, 01/12/1936. (National Archives Identifier: 7657327)

Photograph of the Pennsylvania Avenue Entrance of the National Archives, 01/12/1936. (National Archives Identifier: 7657327)

 

Above Destiny are two genii, which Weinman described as “bearers of the fire of Patriotism.” To the immediate left of the central figure is a man on horseback. A woman carrying olive and palm branches, symbols of peace and victory, accompany him. Continuing to the left, four smaller figures are shown. Included in this group are a woman carrying a torch signifying enlightenment and a man with a harp, singing the “Song of Achievement.” Weinman intended that these figures would symbolize the “Arts of Peace.”

In contrast to the “Arts of Peace,” the figures on the right side of the pediment symbolize the “Arts of War.” A mounted soldier is depicted along with a warrior carrying the swords of his defeated foes. The smaller figures to the right represent the “Romance of History” and include two philosophers and a child holding the scroll of history. At each corner of the pediment is a griffin, which Weinman referred to as “Guardians of the Secrets of the Archives.”

The north pediment of the National Archives Building is matched in grandeur and symbolism by the pediment on the south side of the building. This pediment, designed by James Earle Frazer, and his wife, Laura Frazer, both respected sculptors, depicts the “Recorder of the Archives” and the archival process.

Photograph of the National Archives Building Constitution Avenue Entrance Portico and Pediment, 12/22/1935.  (National Archives Identifier: 7820508)

Photograph of the National Archives Building Constitution Avenue Entrance Portico and Pediment, 12/22/1935. (National Archives Identifier: 7820508)

The central seated figure represents the Recorder. He holds an open book in his lap and the keys to the archives in his hand. The Recorder’s throne rests on two rams, which symbolize parchment. Many of the oldest and most important documents kept by the National Archives were written on parchment, which is made of animal skin. Figures receiving important documents from female figures flank the Recorder. In the background are shown winged horses, representations of the mythic Pegasus. The smaller men shown are collecting documents, all to be recorded by the central figure. A group of dogs sit at each corner of the pediment, symbolizing guardianship. It has been said that Laura Frazer modeled some of these dogs after her own pets.

In total, $360,000 was spent on sculptural decorations for the National Archives Building. This included an estimated $69,000 dollars each for the pediments—$30,000 each for actual carving and $39,000 each in modeling costs. Together with the building’s other sculptures, these pediments make the National Archives Building the most ornate building in the Federal Triangle. The pediments’ powerful symbols and monumental scale speak to the significance of the National Archives’ purpose and evoke President Herbert Hoover’s statement that the National Archives Building would serve as “a temple of our history.”


Fidel Castro’s childhood plea to President Roosevelt

Continuing our celebration of Natinal Hispanic Heritage Month, this post comes from Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications.

Did you know that Fidel Castro, when he was just 14 years old, wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II?

How many of us, at such a young age, have written a letter to our President or any other country’s president?

During the years that President Roosevelt was in office, he received thousands of letters in which people from all around the world wished him luck, congratulated him on his reelection, asked him questions, made requests, and shared their concerns, suggestions, and criticisms.

Over 74 years ago, on November 6, 1940, even the future leader of the Cuban revolution sent a letter to the President of the United States. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz grew up to become one of the most famous figures of the 20th century. But as a child, he had a simpler request for the leader of his country’s neighbor to the north.

The young Fidel opens his letter with “My good friend Roosevelt” and asks the President to “give me a ten dollars bill green american” since he had not seen one. In a postscript, he even offers his help with the industrial sector by indicating that he can show the President “the biggest (minas) of iron in the land.” (There’s an interesting discrepancy in the letter: in 1940, Fidel was 14 years old, not 12 as he states.)

Years later, Fidel Castro told a reporter who was interviewing him in 1975 that he did, in fact, receive correspondence from the White House thanking him for his letter, but he never received the $10 bill.

Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940. (National Archives Identifier: 302040)

Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940.
(National Archives Identifier: 302040)

Santiago de Cuba, November 6th 1940

 
Mr. Franklin Roosevelt
President of the United States:
 
My good friend Roosevelt:
 
I don’t know very English, but I know as much as write to you.
I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo).
I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much, but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States.
If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.
 
My address is:
 
Sr. Fidel Castro
Colegio de Dolores
Santiago de Cuba
Oriente Cuba
 
I don’t know very English but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don’t know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.
 
Thank you very much
Good by. Your friend,
 
F. Castro (signed)
Fidel Castro
 
If you want iron to make your ships I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron in the land. They are in Mayorí, Oriente, Cuba.
 
Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940. (National Archives Identifier: 302040)

Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940.
(National Archives Identifier: 302040)

 
 

En español: La petición infantil de Fidel Castro al presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt

Continuando con nuestra celebración en el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, este artículo proviene de la interna Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, de la Oficina de Estrategia yComunicaciones de los Archivos Nacionales

¿Sabias que Fidel Castro, con apenas 14 años, escribió una carta dirigida al Presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt durante la segunda guerra mundial?

¿Cuantos de nosotros, a tan corta edad, le hemos escrito una carta a nuestro presidente o a algún presidente mundial?

Durante los años que el Presidente Roosevelt estuvo en la oficina, recibió miles de cartas en donde los ciudadanos y personas de otros países le deseaban suerte, lo felicitaban, le formulaban preguntas, le hacían peticiones, le compartían inquietudes, sugerencias y críticas, especialmente durante la segunda guerra mundial, al ser reelecto para la presidencia.

Hace más de 74 años, el 6 de noviembre de 1940, hasta el futuro líder de larevolución Cubana, le envió una carta al presidente de los Estados Unidos. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz se convirtió en uno de los más famosos protagonistas del siglo XX. Pero cuando era niño, Fidel tenía una solicitud más simple para el líder del país vecino en el norte.

El joven Fidel abre su carta con “Mi buen amigo Roosevelt” y le pide al presidente que le “obsequie un billete verde americano de $10 dólares” ya que el nunca había visto “el dólar verde americano”. Además, en un posdata, le ofrece ayuda con el sector industrial indicándole que él le puede “enseñar donde están las minas más grandes de la tierra”. (Como dato curioso, Fidel no tiene los 12 años que dice tener en la carta sino que el escribe la carta teniendo 14 años de edad.)

Carta de Fidel Castro al presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Carta de Fidel Castro al president Roosevelt, 11/06/1940. (Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 302040)

Carta de Fidel Castro al president Roosevelt, 11/06/1940.
(Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 302040)

Santiago de Cuba, 6 de Noviembre de 1940

 
Señor Franklin Roosevelt
Presidente de los Estados Unidos:
 
Mi buen amigo Roosevelt:
 
No sé mucho inglés, pero lo suficiente para poder escribirle. Me gusta escuchar mucho la radio y estoy muy contento por haber oído que usted va a ser Presidente por un nuevo periodo.
 
Yo tengo doce años de edad, soy un chico pero pienso mucho pero no pienso que le esté escribiendo al presidente de los Estados Unidos.
Si le parece bien, envíeme un billete verde americano de diez dólares en la carta porque nunca he visto un billete verde americano de diez dólares y me gustaría tener uno.
 
Mi direccion es:
 
Señor Fidel Castro
Colegio de Dolores
Santiago de Cuba
Oriente, Cuba.
 
Yo no sé mucho inglés pero sé muchísimo español y supongo que usted no sabe mucho español pero sabe mucho inglés porque usted es americano pero yo no soy americano.
 
Muchas gracias.
Adiós. Su amigo,
 
Fidel Castro
 
Y si quiere hierro para hacer sus barcos yo le puedo enseñar las minas de hierro más grandes de la tierra. Están en Mayarí, Oriente, Cuba.
 
Letter from Fidel Castro to FDR, 1940, pgs 2&3 00968_2003_002

Rudy Martinez: The Beginning of the Latino Impact in World War II

Continuing our celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s post comes from Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, intern in the Office of Strategy and Communications at the National Archives. To find out more about our Bilingual Social Media Project.

In English:

On December 7, 1941, the date that President Franklin D. Roosevelt said would “live in infamy,” the Imperial Japanese navy launched a surprise attack on the U.S. military base at Pear Harbor, Hawaii.

Rudy (Rudolph M.) Martinez was a young sailor who had just left his family in San Diego to begin his duties as a sailor in the U.S. Navy in Pearl Harbor. On the morning of the attack, the 21-year-old Navy electrician mate 3rd class was aboard the USS Utah when the battleship was hit by two Japanese torpedoes.

Photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Signing the Declaration of War against Japan, 12/08/1941 National Archives Identifier: 520053

Photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Signing the Declaration of War against Japan, 12/08/1941
National Archives Identifier: 520053

A Mexican American, Martinez officially became the first Hispanic to be killed in World War II. His final letter written home asked for a photo of his mother. Martinez’s death marked the beginning of the surge of Latino military service in World War II.

About half a million Latinos served during World War II. Gen. Douglas MacArthur called the Arizona National Guard’s 158th Infantry Regiment, known as “Bushmasters,” “one of the greatest fighting combat teams ever deployed for battle.” The regiment was composed of many Latino soldiers.

A vertical view of the wreckage of the USS UTAH (AG-16), which is now part of the USS UTAH MEMORIAL.

A vertical view of the wreckage of the USS UTAH (AG-16), which is now part of the USS UTAH MEMORIAL.

Martinez was awarded the Purple Heart and World War II Victory medal posthumously. Since then, more than 400 Latinos have received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.

En Español:

El 7 de diciembre de 1941, la fecha que el presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt dijo que “vivirá en la infamia”, la Armada Imperial Japonesa lanzó un ataque sorpresa contra la base militar de EE.UU. en Pear Harbor, Hawaii.

Rudy (Rudolph M.) Martínez era un joven marinero que acababa de dejar a su familia en San Diego para embarcarse en sus labores como parte de la Marina de los EE.UU. en Pearl Harbor. La mañana del ataque, el joven de 21 años, compañero de tercera clase del electricista en la Marina de los Estados Unidos, estaba a bordo el USS Utah cuando el buque de guerra fue atacado por dos torpedos japoneses.

Fotografía del presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt firmando la declaración de guerra contra Japón, 08/12/1941 Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 520053

Fotografía del presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt firmando la declaración de guerra contra Japón, 08/12/1941
Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 520053

Un México-americano, Martínez se convirtió oficialmente en el primer hispano en morir en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. En su última carta a casa, escribió pidiendo una foto de su madre. La muerte de Martínez marcó el comienzo de la oleada de servicio militar Latino en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Alrededor de medio millón de latinos sirvieron durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El General Douglas MacArthur ha llamado al Regimiento de la Infantería 158 de la Guardia Nacional de Arizona, conocido como los “Bushmasters”, como “uno de los más grandes equipos de combate de lucha que se hayan desplegado para la batalla”. El regimiento se componía, en su mayoría, de soldados latinos.

Una vista vertical de los restos del USS UTAH (AG-16), que ahora es parte del USS UTAH MEMORIAL 10/01/1981 Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6349935

Una vista vertical de los restos del USS UTAH (AG-16), que ahora es parte del USS UTAH MEMORIAL 10/01/1981
Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6349935

Martínez fue otorgado la medalla del Corazón Púrpura y la medalla de la Victoria de la Segunda Guerra Mundial a título póstumo. Desde entonces, más de 400 latinos han recibido la Medalla de Honor, la más alta condecoración militar de la nación.

 

 


Failure of the Equal Rights Amendment: The Feminist Fight of the 1970s

Today’s post comes from Marisa Hawley, intern in the National Archives Strategy and Communications office.

As part of the “six weeks of style” celebration to recognize the Foundation for the National Archives’ partnership with DC Fashion Week, we are showcasing fashion-related records from our holdings. This week’s fashion theme is Get Your 1970s Groove On.

Women's Suffrage Day in Fountain Square, 08/1973. (National Archives Identifier 553307)

Women’s Suffrage Day in Fountain Square, 08/1973. (National Archives Identifier 553307)

After the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, suffragette Alice Paul felt that this right alone was not enough to eradicate gender discrimination in the United States. In 1923, she drafted the Equal Rights Amendment, which read:

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

These seemingly simple words wielded enormous implications. Since its conception, the ERA has been a source of unremitting debate over whether or not total equality between men and women is worth the sacrifice of certain legislative protection. In fact, from 1923 to 1970, some form of the amendment was introduced in every session of Congress but was usually held up in committee and never put to a vote.

To get the ERA out of committee, Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan filed a petition to demand that the amendment be heard by the full House. She successfully captured the 218 needed votes by lobbying members from both parties and securing help of then-Congressman Gerald Ford to secure the final votes needed for passage.

The Joint Resolution was adopted by the house on October 12, 1971, and the following spring it was adopted by the Senate on March 22, 1972.

Martha Griffiths at ERA rally in Houston, Texas, 1977. (ARC Identifier 7452294)

Martha Griffiths at ERA rally in Houston, Texas, 1977. (ARC Identifier 7452294)

Section one read:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex

Because amending the Constitution is a two-step process, the ERA still needed to be ratified by three-forth of the state legislatures even though it had passed through Congress. At first, there was strong public support for passage—by 1973, 30 of the necessary 38 states ratified the amendment.

Groups like the National Organization of Women (NOW) were compelling advocates for the ERA, claiming that its passage was necessary because the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens regardless of gender and it would provide a clearer judicial standard for deciding cases of sex discrimination.

Photograph of Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Posters on the Back of a Station Wagon, c. 1977. (ARC Identifier 7452296)

Photograph of Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Posters on the Back of a Station Wagon, c. 1977. (ARC Identifier 7452296)

After 1973, however, a highly organized opposition to the ERA emerged, suggesting that ratification would prove to be detrimental to women.

Opponents argued that passing the amendment would do away with protective laws like sexual assault and alimony, eliminate the tendency for mothers to receive child custody in a divorce case, and immediately make the all-male military draft unconstitutional.

By 1982, the year of expiration, only 35 of the necessary 38 states voted in favor of the ERA—three states short of ratification.

More information about Martha Griffiths and the ERA.

And check out one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation nearly 90 years after its conception at the National Archives’ Records of Rights exhibit—the debate still simmers today!

Examine more “signature styles” and history-making signatures in our current exhibition, “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.


Modesto Cartagena, the most decorated Hispanic soldier of the Korean War

English Version: Modesto Cartagena, the most decorated Hispanic soldier of the Korean War.

Continuing our celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s post comes from Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, intern in the Office of Strategy and Communications at the National Archives. 

Korean War veteran, Sgt. 1st Class (ret) Modesto Cartagena, 12/02/2000. (National Archives Identifier: 6519402)

Korean War veteran, Sgt. 1st Class (ret) Modesto Cartagena, 12/02/2000.
(National Archives Identifier: 6519402)

Today we remember Modesto Cartagena, the most decorated Hispanic soldier of the Korean War.

Cartagena was a humble man born to a poor family who lived in the small town of Cayey, Puerto Rico. He was among the first from the island to volunteer for military service when the United States entered World War II. He served in the 65th Infantry Regiment, an all-Puerto Rican regiment also known as “The Borinqueneers,” during World War II and later in the Korean War.

During the Korean War, Cartagena earned the nickname “One Man Army.” Hill 206 near Yonchon, Korea, was heavily guarded on April 19, 1951, by a well-entrenched and fanatically determined hostile force. While under attack, Cartagena destroyed four enemy emplacements before he was wounded, thus saving the lives of the men in his unit and enabling the company to take the hill.

Cartagena spent 20 years in the Army before retiring as a sergeant first class in 1971.Even in retirement he continued to be an active figure around the 65 Infantry Headquarters. According to Cartagena, his only regret was that he was too old to serve in Afghanistan. As a part of his legacy, January 4, 2007 was officially declared as “SFC Modesto Cartagena Day” in Hartford, Connecticut. An avenue in his native town of Cayey is also named after him.

Cartagena was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in Korea. Among his many other military decorations are the Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Military Medal of Honor of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico.

His family has initiated a campaign in Congress to award Cartagena the Medal of Honor posthumously. His supporters have argued that the Army’s segregation policy, at that time, and the limited English capacity of his company members when filling out the forms for the application, resulted in his being awarded the nation’s second-highest decoration on September 16, 1951.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Jose Pene, left, Sgt. 1st. Class Modesto Cartagena, second left, and CSM Angel Kuiland, right, veterans of the Korean War during a ceremony at the US Army Reserve center in Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico. (National Archives Identifier: 6519407)

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Jose Pene, left, Sgt. 1st. Class Modesto Cartagena, second left, and CSM Angel Kuiland, right, veterans of the Korean War during a ceremony at the US Army Reserve center in Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico. (National Archives Identifier: 6519407)

Cartagena died on March 2, 2010, in Guayama, Puerto Rico, following a long battle with stomach cancer.

Four years later, H.R. 1726 passed favorably in the House of Representatives on May 19, 2014. Three days later on May 22, 2014, the Senate approved S. 1174. The Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Bill went to President Barack Obama, who signed the legislation at an official ceremony on June 10, 2014. The 65th Infantry is the first Hispanic military unit, and the first unit of the Korean War, to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

En españolModesto Cartagena el soldado hispano más condecorado de la Guerra de Corea.

Continuando con nuestra celebración en el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, este artículo proviene de la interna Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, de la Oficina de Estrategia y Comunicaciones de los Archivos Nacionales.

Veterano de la Guerra de Corea, el Sargento de Primera Clase (Ret) Modesto Cartagena, 12/02/2000 (Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6519402)

Veterano de la Guerra de Corea, el Sargento de Primera Clase (Ret) Modesto Cartagena, 12/02/2000
(Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6519402)

Hoy recordamos a Modesto Cartagena, el soldado hispano más condecorado de la Guerra de Corea.

Cartagena era un hombre humilde nacido de una familia pobre que vivía en el pequeño pueblo de Cayey en Puerto Rico. Él fue uno de los primeros de la isla en ser voluntario para el servicio militar, cuando los Estados Unidos entró a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Sirvió en el 65 Regimiento de Infantería, un regimiento de Puertorriqueños también conocidos como “Los Borinqueneers”, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial y más tarde en la Guerra de Corea.

En la Guerra de Corea Cartagena se ganó el apodo de “One Man Army.” El 19 de abril de 1951, la colina 206 cerca de Yonchon, Corea, fue fuertemente custodiada, por un corazado y fanáticamente determinada fuerza hostil. Mientras estaban bajo ataque, Cartagena destruyó cuatro emplazamientos enemigos antes de que él resultará herido, salvando así la vida de los hombres de su unidad y logró que la unidad tomará poseción de la colina.

Cartagena pasó 20 años en el ejército antes de retirarse como un Sargento Primera Clase en 1971. Aunque retirado él seguía siendo una figura activa en torno a la sede de la 65 de Infantería. Según Cartagena, lo único que lamentaba era que era demasiado viejo para servir en Afganistán. Como parte de su legado, el 4 de enero de 2007, se declaró oficialmente como “El Día de SFC Modesto Cartagena” en la ciudad de Hartford, Connecticut. De igual manera, una avenida en su pueblo natal de Cayey lleva el nombre de él.

Cartagena recibió la Cruz de Servicios Distinguidos, el segundo reconocimiento más alto luego de la Medalla de Honor, por sus acciones heroícas en Korea. Entre sus muchas otras condecoraciones militares lo son  la Medalla de la Estrella de Plata, la Legión de Mérito, la Medalla de la Estrella de Bronce y la Medalla del Corazón Púrpura. También fue galardonado con la Medalla Militar de Honor de la Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico.

Su familia ha asumido la responsabilidad de hacer una petición al Congreso, para que se le otorgue la Medalla de Honor a Cartagena como título póstumo. Han recibido apoyo en su campaña por parte del Senador Marco Rubio de Florida. Sus seguidores sostienen que la política de segregación del ejército, en esos tiempos, y la limitada capacidad del Inglés de los miembros de su compañía al llenar los formularios para la solicitud, dio lugar a la adjudicación de la decoración de segundo rango más alto de la nación, “La Cruz de Servicio Distinguido” el 16 de Septiembre de 1951.

Sargento Mayor de Comando (CSM) José Pene, izquierda, Sargento de Primera Clase Modesto Cartagena, segundo a la izquierda, y CSM Ángel Kuiland, derecha, veteranos de la Guerra de Corea, durante una ceremonia que se celebra en el centro de la Reserva del Ejército de Estados Unidos en Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico.  (Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6519407)

Sargento Mayor de Comando (CSM) José Pene, izquierda, Sargento de Primera Clase Modesto Cartagena, segundo a la izquierda, y CSM Ángel Kuiland, derecha, veteranos de la Guerra de Corea, durante una ceremonia que se celebra en el centro de la Reserva del Ejército de Estados Unidos en Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico.
(Identificador de los Archivos Nacionales: 6519407)

Cartagena murió en Guayama, Puerto Rico, el 2 de marzo de 2010, después de una larga batalla con el cáncer de estómago.

Un proyecto de ley, conocido como HR 1726, fue aprobado favorablemente en la Cámara el 19 de mayo de 2014. Tres días después, el 22 de mayo de 2014, el Senado aprobó el proyecto de ley S. 1174. La “CGM Bill Borinqueneers” pasó al presidente Barack Obama, quien firmó la legislación en una ceremonia oficial el 10 de junio de 2014. El 65 de Infantería es la primera unidad militar hispana, y la primera unidad de la Guerra de Corea, en recibir la Medalla de Oro del Congreso.