Filipino WWII vets receive Congressional Gold Medal

| October 31, 2017 | 1 Comment

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Congressional leaders present the Congressional Gold Medal. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Congress
News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Congressional leaders presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino World War II veterans, here, Oct. 25.

The presentation ceremony was the culmination of Hirono and Gabbard’s years-long effort to recognize Filipino WWII veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest civilian honor.

“Presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to our Filipino World War II veterans is a long overdue honor for hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families,” said Hirono.

“Last Veterans Day, Filipino World War II veteran Domingo Los Banos urged me to make sure our Congressional Gold Medal bill was passed that year. I hope that today’s ceremony conveyed to Domingo, and every other veteran, our gratitude for their service during the war and recognition of the hardship they face in receiving the benefits they earned.”

Said Gabbard, “The United States is forever grateful for the service, bravery and perseverance of the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino American Soldiers that served our country during World War II. These loyal and courageous Soldiers suffered hardships, fought bravely and sacrificed greatly, with many giving up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war; yet, their service was left unrecognized in the United States for decades.

“Today, these brave Soldiers are finally receiving the recognition they earned and deserve, and join the ranks of heroic units like the Tuskegee Airmen and Hawaii’s own 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion as we honor them with the Congressional Gold Medal – our nation’s highest civilian honor.”Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined Hirono and Gabbard in presenting the medal.

“Today we pay tribute to the quarter of a million Filipinos who answered an American president’s call to fight for our country in the defining war of the 20th century,” said Schumer. “Those brave men, who bravely took up arms and risked life and limb on behalf of a country that was not yet their own, were heroes.

“It is a mark of a confident and exceptional nation to look back on its history and say we made a grievous error, but we recognize it and pledge never to let it happen again,” Schumer continued. “I’m especially proud to be an American today as Congress rights a decades-old wrong and bestows the highest civilian honor on the Filipino veterans of the Second World War, enshrining in the history books their courage and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.”

“Today, we recognize the extraordinary heroism and sacrifice of the Filipino Veterans of World War II by conferring the highest honor Congress can bestow,” said Pelosi. “Generations of Americans and Filipinos alike have been shaped by their courage, inspired by their service and humbled by their sacrifice. We are inspired not only by their bravery on the battlefield, but also by the courage they have shown in fighting for the recognition they have earned but long been denied. We must not rest until the service of every Filipino veteran is recognized and rewarded.”

Hirono and Gabbard’s law, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act (Public Law 114-265), was signed into law by President Obama and awarded the medal collectively to the over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American Soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag during World War II.

 

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  1. Rudy Asercion says:

    Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual or organization. However according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Aquilino Delen, the Filipino individual that was chosen as the poster boy to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino WWII veterans had no service record as a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, including the recognized Guerillas, in the service of the United States Armed Forces.

    Shame.

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