Kappuros ken kababaraan a damdamag manipud iti sentro ti komersio iti Estado ti Hawaii--Honolulu, iti Oahu, karaman dagiti kabangibang nga isla kas iti Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui ken Big Island [Hawaii].
Dec 6, 2016
Commemorating Pearl harbor and the heroism of Filipino World War II veterans
[Nabulod laeng ti ladawan a naaramat]
D.C. Seventy-five years ago today, Japanese fighter planes bombed Pearl
Harbor. On the same day, Japanese forces attacked the Philippines, a
U.S. territory at the time. More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers
responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms to defend the
Philippines and the United States. They would go on to endure some of
the most horrific conditions anywhere in the world, including the Bataan
Death March and the ravages of the bombing of Manila, second only to
Warsaw in its destruction.
They would not accept defeat. They would not quit. They would not leave a fallen comrade.
of them died in battle fighting under the American flag, making the
ultimate sacrifice as soldiers in the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East
(USAFFE) and as guerrilla fighters during the Japanese occupation of the
Philippines. Those who survived suffered the scars of battle and the
invisible wounds of war.
were forced to endure additional humiliation and a slap in the face
when the U.S. Congress passed the 1946 Rescission Acts, which stripped
them of their rights and promised benefits.
Righting a wrong
extraordinary moment can only be consoled with the award of the
Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal,” says Maj.
Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition
and Education Project. “Through all this time, the veterans – those who
have passed and those still alive today, remained steadfast and
resolute hoping our country they had willingly defended would right the
wrong brought upon them. Their determination to gain recognition was
long and arduous.”
November 30, Congress finally passed legislation granting recognition
to the 260,000 Filipino soldiers for their service and sacrifice. It
took more than 72 years.
passage of this bill on the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec
7, 1941, and the attack on the Philippines on Dec 8, 1941 is a momentous
event, which is now enshrined in U.S. history,” adds Taguba.
“Commemorating the anniversary of ‘the day of infamy’ and the courageous
response of Filipino and American soldiers to call to duty, should
serve to remind us that their uncommon valor should never be forgotten,
that this American story should be preserved for posterity. Always
remembering what they did is the best way to protect our children and
their children from the horrors of war.”
Today, less than 16,000 remain, most of them ailing and in their 90s.
Pearl Harbor bombing led to a global conflict. As a Commonwealth of the
United States, the Philippines was inevitably drawn into the war.
Filipino soldiers fought the Japanese Imperial Forces from December 1941
to December 1946. Thousands were killed, wounded and captured as
Prisoners of War. Thousands more fought as guerrillas until the enemy
was finally defeated, liberating the country and preserving freedom and
democracy in the United States.
Americans of all ages remember Pearl Harbor as a key event that
triggered our nation’s involvement in World War II, we rightly
commemorate the sacrifices of the brave men and women who fought for our
freedom in the years that followed,” Taguba points out. “But much less
is known or remembered of the thousands of Filipino and American
soldiers who fought bravely for our freedom more than half a century ago
and half a world away. Granting them recognition ensures that their
story is now a significant part of American history. Honoring and
remembering them is the best way to keep their memory alive.”
They are America’s Filipino Soldiers of World War II. They are part of our American story.