U.S. Congress honors Filipino veterans of World War II
MANILA, Philippines – The United States Congress honored Filipino veterans of World War II by awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal, one of America's highest civilian awards.
In a ceremony at the US Capitol Visitor Center in Washington DC, Senate and House leaders presented the award to representatives of Filipino war veterans on Wednesday, October 25.
The veterans were recognized for their service and sacrifice during World War II.
More than 250,000 Filipinos fought alongside American soldiers against the invading imperial Japanese forces in the Philippines from 1941 to 1945.
"This is a day that is long, long overdue," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in his remarks. "We are here to immortalize the legacy of great liberators, who have paved the way for generations to follow."
"Let this ceremony serve to ensure that those who fought for freedom are never forgotten, and always remembered," Ryan added.
This day is long overdue. On behalf of Congress, I am humbled to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino veterans of WWII. pic.twitter.com/xYgm7X4JHI— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 25, 2017
"In victory, they marched on. In defeat, they kept hope close. In resistance, they held aloft the spirit of a people, for all the world to see – unbent, standing tall, enduring still," added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
He continued, "When General [Douglas] MacArthur was forced to evacuate the Philippines, he made a solemn promise, 'I shall return.' Now, 75 years later, the United States is returning to recognize the Filipino veterans of the Second World War."
Wartime US President Franklin Roosevelt promised full benefits to Filipinos who enlisted for the war. But the administration of President Harry S. Truman rescinded this promise after World War II, reported CNN.
"We made a grievous error but we recognize it and pledge to never let it happen again," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quoted as saying.
In December 2016, US President Barack Obama signed the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015. – Rappler.com