Movement to award Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino veterans gains ground during Filipino American History Month

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015. Filed under: Local News
Members of the Filipino-American Veterans of Hampton Roads carry the United States and Virginia State colors during dedication ceremonies for the new Visitor’s Center of the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia, on 13 October 2012. The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur who is remembered by Filipinos as the liberator of the Philippines. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of men and women who served with General MacArthur in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. (Photo by Ed Pelausa)

Members of the Filipino-American Veterans of Hampton Roads carry the United States and Virginia State colors during dedication ceremonies for the new Visitor’s Center of the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia, on 13 October 2012. The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur who is remembered by Filipinos as the liberator of the Philippines. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of men and women who served with General MacArthur in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. (Photo by Ed Pelausa)

Washington, DC – As Filipino American History Month is commemorated nationwide in October, the movement to recognize Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans for their wartime service to the U.S. gains momentum.

October is recognized as Filipino American History Month, when the contributions of the Filipino American community are celebrated across the United States. In recent years, the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed resolutions officially recognizing October as Filipino American History Month on an individual basis for a given year. Various states, counties, and cities have also established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month.

The movement to obtain national recognition for Filipino and Filipino-American World War II soldiers across the United States and Philippines for their wartime service to the U.S. continues to gain momentum during Filipino American History Month. Today, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), including Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Mark Takai (D-HI), are holding a press conference to announce support for legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino veterans. HR 2737 and SB 1555 are companion bills that acknowledge over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II.

“Filipino World War II veterans served this country with unquestioned loyalty and admirable courage,” said Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). “They risked their lives to secure democracy and freedom and ensure a better life for generations of Americans. It’s now America’s turn to thank our brave heroes and recognize their sacrifice and service to this country.  Their’s is a national story that must be preserved and passed on with utmost pride.”

Adds Luisa Antonio, Exec. Director of the Veterans Equity Center and FilVetREP Board member:
”Many Americans today enjoy peace and prosperity due in large measure to our veterans’ uncommon valor and unheralded contributions to the war effort. As we honor them, we must commit ourselves to celebrate their achievements not only during Filipino American History Month but every day and every where, through our own acts of selfless service to our community and country. We keep their story alive by continuing to fight for the same cause for which they gave their lives.”

The initiative behind the recognition of Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans is the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP), a nonpartisan, community-based, all-volunteer national initiative whose mission is to raise awareness through academic research and public information and obtain national recognition of Filipino and Filipino-American WWII Soldiers across the United States and Philippines for their wartime service to the U.S. and the Philippines from July 1941 to December 1946.

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