Gold medal recognition for Fil-Am WW II vets sought

Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Nov 12 2015 05:31 PM

CALIFORNIA - A high-ranking military officer and young Filipino-Americans are calling on the entire nation to honor Filipino World War II veterans by properly recognizing their services in the war.

Fil-Am college students proudly marched alongside Filipino World War II veterans who continue to fight for recognition for their services.

"I think a lot of college students, especially those involved with Kasamahan, are very tuned in with their history and their history is part of their Filipino identity. So it is important that we continue to educate the people in the San Francisco community about the struggles that the veteranos have faced in World War II," said Juliet Langit of Kasamahan.

Emily Enriquez of the San Francisco State University added, "For anything to be successful, it has to be cross-generational. It can’t just include one age group. It has to include the youth like ourselves in order for something to be successful. We learn from those who came before us. We stand on their shoulders and we’re here to support them."

Retired US Army Major General Antonio Taguba is leading the charge in urging Congress to pass a law that would award the veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Sixty-seven US senators and 218 US representatives are needed to co-sponsor the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015.

According to Taguba, currently, only 28 senators and 40 representatives are signed on.

"This is 73 years in the making. The war ended in 1946. It is now 2015. Out of the 260,000 soldiers that fought during World War II, four years of combat, we have about 18,000 remaining: 9,000 here in the United States and 9,000 residing in the Philippines. They die, about 15 a day," Taguba said.

General Taguba called on all people to contact their city, state and congressional representatives and urge them to co-sponsor the bill.

"This is a non-partisan issue. Nobody asked those veterans if they were Republican, Democrat, or independent. What they were asked and ordered to do was to defend a country called the United States of America and they did that. Thousands died. Thousands were prisoners of war, and thousands were wounded for life," he said.

General Taguba said that they need to complete the required co-sponsors no later than September 2016 to avoid conflicting with issues of the presidential election.

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