Filipino WWII Veterans Receive Long-Awaited Recognition with Congressional Gold Medal

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U.S. Celestino Almeda (C), Filipino veteran representing the Philippine Commonwealth Army, arrives at a Congressional Gold Medal presentation ceremony October 25, 2017 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC. The medal is to honor Filipino veterans of World War II for their service and sacrifice during the war.

Last month, Senate and White House leaders awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to roughly 250,000 Filipino veterans who served during World War II. The recognition was long awaited: it had been over 75 years since Filipino troops, alongside U.S. forces, helped resist the Japanese invasion of their islands. When U.S. commanders later surrendered, hundreds of Americans and about 10,000 Filipinos became prisoners of war and went on to endure the Bataan Death March. We discuss the Filipino veterans' struggle for benefits and recognition, and the significance of this award.

Cecilia Gaerlan,
executive director, Bataan Legacy Historical Society
Antonio Taguba, retired major general, U.S. Army
Lou Tancinco, board president, San Francisco Veterans Equity Center