The church bells of Balangiga were taken away from a small town in eastern Samar during the Filipino-American War — a war trophy that made its way to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Following the Balangiga massacre in 1901 — and stayed there until today.
But on Wednesday, the Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will attend an event described as a ceremony that will “mark the beginning of a process” to return the iconic bells to their rightful owner: the people of Balangiga.
Nearly 12 decades ago, these bells served as a loud signal for the Filipino rebels disguised as women to attack and kill the Americans using bolos hidden in children’s coffins.
Rodel Rodis said it took a modification in the 2018 defense spending bill that allowed for President Trump to return the bells.
After secretary of defense James Mattis certifies to Congress, the transfer of the Balangiga Bells is in the country’s national security interests, and steps have been taken to preserve the history of the veterans associated with the bells.
This transfer was made possible by a bipartisan bill signed into law co-sponsored by Texas GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry and Washington Democratic Congressman Adam Smith.