FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017
Jason Tengco, NaFFAA Executive Director
FilAm World War II Veterans To Receive Congressional Gold Medal on October 25
Washington, DC — Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan announced yesterday that Congress will bestow the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino American Veterans of World War II, in a ceremony to take place on October 25. Coinciding with the observance of Filipino American History Month, this ceremony serves as a symbolic capstone to the decades-long fight for recognition on behalf of the brave Filipino veterans who served with honor to defend the United States. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) applauds Congressional leaders and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP) for their efforts in enshrining this recognition.
Approximately 260,000 Filipino and Filipino American soldiers answered President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call to defend the United States and the Philippines during World War II. The bravery and sacrifice of these soldiers were integral to American victory in the Pacific. FilVetREP, chaired by retired Major General Antonio “Tony” Taguba, spearheaded a massive campaign to push for the passage of Senate bill 1555, and its companion House bill 2737, which sought to award a single Congressional Gold Medal to honor the Filipinos who fought alongside the U.S. Military. “This is the culmination of our community’s efforts to secure for our brave soldiers the recognition they rightfully deserve,” say Gen. Taguba. “They made the supreme sacrifice to fight under the American flag, yet they had to wait for more than 70 years for the U.S. to acknowledge their service. At the awards ceremony honoring them, we will take this opportunity as a grateful nation to thank these heroes for their duty to country and to make sure we keep their memories and stories alive.”
NaFFAA is proud to have partnered with FilVetREP, along with the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and other community organizations and leaders, in this endeavor.
NaFFAA National Chairman Brendan Flores states, “With fewer than 18,000 Filipino American World War II veterans still alive today, this Congressional honor is long overdue. These brave veterans served with honor, and did so selflessly. I applaud Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for spearheading Congressional efforts to properly honor and provide them with the recognition and benefits they so deserve.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress. It is awarded to those “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture…” The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the United States Capitol’s Emancipation Hall. It will begin at 11:00 AM EST, and can be viewed online through Livestream at speaker.gov/live.