The Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles has joined the community in honoring veterans who defended the Philippines against Japan during World War 2, with an exhibit slated to commemorate 75 years since the Bataan Death March.
April marks a milestone for many of the remaining Filipino World War 2 veterans, some of whom were just teenagers when they were forced to make the brutal 106-km march from Bataan to Tarlac as prisoners of the Japanese.
Some of them, like 95-year old Rogaciano Dagdag joined World War 2 shortly after the deadly walk that killed as many as 18,000 Filipinos.
Fresh from a trip to New Mexico where a commemoration was recently held, Los Angeles Philippine Consul General Adelio Cruz is ready to honor Filipino World War 2 veterans in the city with an exhibit at the consulate set to open on Monday.
“I don't think even young Americans here know what happened in the Philippines. They didn't even know about the Bataan Death March, so such heroism and gallantry must not be forgotten and we're losing time. The more we should do it,” said Consul General Cruz.
“It's a community coming together remembering those who defended Bataan and Corregidor, so this a very big milestone. Seventy-five years and here you are,” said Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque of the Filipino Veterans Foundation.
While groups throughout the country commemorate the day of valor, Philippine consulate offices are also spearheading efforts to raise funds for the recently approved Congressional Medals of Honor. There are an estimated 18,000 veterans left and duplicates of the medal will cost around 50 dollars each.
“For the whole year I will be talking to as many organizations and as many people as I can. Hopefully, we can eventually gain funding for the Congressional Medals of honor,” said Cruz.
Aside from the month-long exhibit at the consulate, the Filipino Veterans Foundation in the south land will also hold an exhibit at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. There will also be a series of events including an appearance by the veterans at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
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