by Greater Seattle Chapter of Filipino American National Historical Society

US Congress Approves Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino WWII Veterans

It is with great respect and admiration that we congratulate the Filipino Veterans of World War II on receiving House approval for the Congressional Gold Medal on 11/30/2016.  President Obama will be receiving the bill for signature soon. Over 70 years were lost waiting for recognition of their military service.  The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award the U.S. can bestow.  This is a partial vindication of history for Filipino Veterans who served the United States and lost their veterans benefits in the Rescission Act of 1946. Over 250,000 soldiers in the U.S. Territorial Philippines answered the call to arms serving under American command. Additionally, 16,000 Filipino Americans enlisted in the U.S. and the 1st & 2nd Filipino American Infantry Regiments were formed in California. This medal is a new historical landmark for WWII Filipino and Filipino American Veterans who answered the call to arms in California, the Philippines, and across the U.S.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who sponsored the Congressional Gold Medal Award legislation in the House, congratulates Filipino World War II veteran Rudy Panaglima following passage of the Congressional Gold Medal bill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Gabbard’s Office).

Greater Seattle FANHS echoes the sentiments made by Congressional sponsors that this honor affirms courage and sacrifice made by Filipinos. Seattle also recognizes the hard work in realizing this achievement by all the people involved in the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project. We recognize the gallantry of past soldiers who could not witness this award, and we salute the 7,000 remaining veterans who are still with us.

The sacrifice of Filipino WWII Veterans has been an unsung story that will no longer be overlooked. Their military efforts are a contribution to American history that will be seen with distinction and achievement.  The Seattle chapter would like to recognize a few Filipino American WWII heroes who are still with us in the Pacific Northwest: Florentino Ceniza, Dan Figuracion, Escolastico Galarosa, Joe Taton. Other heroes will be recognized posthumously with multiple awards being issued in the Seattle area.  We look forward to future honors and ceremonies in celebration of them.

The Veteran’s registry for inclusion in the Congressional Gold Medal award will remain open until December 30th, 2016.  Submit the name and any supporting documentation of military enlistment to www.filvetrep.org if you do know of an eligible Filipino WWII Veteran.

Sincere thanks and congratulations,

Greater Seattle Chapter FANHS