This discussion is about the city of Hampton, Virginia. Talk about issues that involve the city government, school boards, committees and commissions, also party committees within Hampton.
Friday, June 12, 2015
Recognizing the Sacrifice of Filipino World War II Veterans
6.12.15 Recognizing the Sacrifice of Filipino World War II Veterans
Virginia is lucky to have such a strong Filipino-American community, particularly in Hampton Roads where many families have ties to the Norfolk Naval Station. This week I was proud to stand with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce a bill that would give long-overdue recognition to Filipino and Filipino-American veterans that made significant contributions to the allied effort in World War II.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Tulsi Gabbard in the House and Senator Mazie Hirono in the Senate, would award the Congressional Gold Medal, one of our nation’s highest honors bestowed upon civilians, to Filipino World War II veterans who fought under the American flag.
At the outset of hostilities, Filipinos fought valiantly to slow Japan’s takeover of the Philippine islands and temporarily halted their unimpeded march through Southeast Asia. They famously held the line at the Bataan Peninsula, which allowed Gen. MacArthur and American forces to retreat south to Australia as Japanese forces slowly advanced. During Japanese occupation, Philippine forces engaged in guerrilla warfare that included destruction of Japanese supply lines, provided intelligence to U.S. forces stationed in Australia, and resisted Japanese aggressions in the absence of U.S. and allied support. All of these efforts paved the way for General MacArthur to return from Australia and advance through the archipelago beginning in October 1944. American forces, with the help of Filipinos, soon recaptured Bataan, Corregidor, and eventually Manila.
The Filipino effort stemmed not only from the need to defend their homeland, but from their deep ties to America. Directly after the war, these ties were strengthened by a military base agreement which brought about the recruitment of Filipinos to the U.S. Navy.
Awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal is a just cause. It’s long past time Filipino veterans of World War II receive the recognition they deserve and I’m proud to be a part of this effort on behalf of Virginia’s tens of thousands of Filipino-American residents.
You can view photos from this week’s press conference here.