13 Filipino war veterans honored in California

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 16 2018 11:06 PM

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Thirteen veterans and 47 surviving families joined Sacramento Filipino veterans for a special congressional medal of honor ceremony at the California state capitol building.
 
Some veterans shared their stories like 95-year-old Alberto Acaya, who fought in both World War II and the Korean War.
 
"We were ordered by the president of the United States to serve the United States armed forces. Filipinos and American soldiers suffered the same humiliation and defeat and we suffered hardships, diseases and maltreatment by the enemy in the concentration camp, I suffered 10 months as a prisoner of war," he said.
 
The moment was marked with a series of high profile Filipinos like retired US Major General and Filipino veteran advocate Antonio Taguba, who stressed that these ceremonies are a chance for the legacies of veterans to continue.
 
"We now have the opportunity and commitment to extend the word of the soldiers stories to raise awareness of their lifelong quest for recognition because this medal symbolizes thousands of personal stories," Taguba said.
 
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye also spoke to the veterans. Her father was living in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941.
 
"The 13 veterans that are here today we are in debt to your service because you served and faced death on behalf of liberty for us and for generations that you knew not. But you faced that early on as young men to ensure liberty for a country that hadn’t promised you anything and then when it did promise you, waited so many years, to deliver justice," she said.
 
This is the 45th ceremony since the medal was revealed last year at a ceremony in Washington DC.
 
The bronze replicas have been part of nationwide fundraising efforts, from the community.
 
Taguba said he is hoping that the efforts continue so they can hold more ceremonies giving these Filipino war heroes their long overdue recognition.