Bill Introduced to Honor Filipino WWII VeteransJune 11, 2015, 2:03 PM HST (Updated June 11, 2015, 2:08 PM)
Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Tulsi Gabbard the introduction of legislation on Thursday that would award Filipino veterans of World War II the Congressional Medal. Efforts in composing the measure are aided by Senator Brian Schatz and additional senators and congressmen from across the country.
“Filipino veterans fought bravely alongside American forces during World War II, and our recognition of their service and sacrifice is long overdue,” said Representative Gabbard. “Our nation owes these individuals our deepest and sincere gratitude. I am pleased to join my colleagues in a bipartisan and bicameral effort to honor these veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal, a well-earned tribute for their service.”
The effort is part of a movement to provide national recognition to Filipino and Filipino-American World War II soldiers across the United States and the Philippines that served instrumental and strategic roles during their service to the United States. Senator Hirono noted the importance of awarding Filipino veterans of World War II the Congressional Gold Medal.
“The Filipino veterans of World War II have faced many challenges in their fight for compensation, family reunification, and verification of wartime service. Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal would go a long way toward making sure that their story is never forgotten,” said Senator Hirono. “I have been an advocate for Filipino veterans since I first learned their stories— fighting to reunify Filipino veterans with their families and to ensure that every Filipino veteran who sacrificed for us during World War II can receive the benefits they have earned. Time is running out for the diminishing number of Filipino World War II veterans and I call on my colleagues in the Senate award these brave soldiers the Congressional Gold Medal, giving them the honor and recognition they earned.”
Over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers are acknowledged by the legislation as responding to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and who fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II.
“More than 200,000 Filipinos who fought alongside American soldiers during World War II have still not been properly recognized for their courageous service,” said Senator Schatz. “Today, far too many have not received the basic veterans’ rights they earned. While we continue to work in Congress to give Filipino veterans and their families the benefits they deserve, awarding them with the Congressional Gold Medal will honor them for their heroic service and patriotism.”
Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Joe Heck, Congressman Juan Vargas, Congressman Mark Takai, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Congressman Mike Thompson all acted as original cosponsors of the measure along with Senator Hirono, Representative Gabbard, and Senator Schatz.