Filipinos and veterans take a knee on Veteran’s Day, fighting injustice
LOS ANGELES — It all started with kneeling during the US national anthem on Hollywood Boulevard, and built up to a loud march for the annual Justice For Filipino American’s Veterans Day Rally.
The 17th annual march was led by hundreds of students and a handful of Filipino World War II veterans and widows, like 96-year-old Roger Dagdag.
“I’m very proud of these young people you know that they still remember the history of how the old veterans have suffered the war,” said Dagdag.
While most of the chants call for pensions and full equity, for the FilVets and their widows, Dagdag is excited that he will be receiving his Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
“I’ve been in combat, that’s why I think I’m one of those entitled to receive the medal. I got my name there listed, so I’ll just be waiting.”
As these students and veterans made their way through Hollywood, legislation is also making its way through Congress to restore the veterans pensions.
“When the congressional medal act passed, while that is a step forward, but we must continue to fight for equity with the Filipino American Veterans Fairness Act,” says Eddy Gana.
“We have refiled the Filipino Veterans Recognition Act and that will really give the last full measure of equity to the veterans, which is a monthly pension of $2000 each,” said Art Garcia.
This is the 5th year Justice for Filipino American veterans has shut down the street of Hollywood, and it may be the last.
The Los Angeles Police Department will be banning marches in the Hollywood area.
“We are protesting this decision of the Los Angeles police department,” said Garcia. “And we will appeal to the office of the mayor, the city council and the police commission.”
But no matter where the march will be next year, veterans and their advocates will bring the fight with them.