by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
April marks a milestone for many of the remaining Filipino WWII veterans.
The few surviving ones were teens on April 9, 1942 — when the infamous Bataan Death March took place.
Los Angeles Philippine Consul General Adelio Cruz is ready to honor Filipino veterans, holding an exhibit at the consulate set to open on Monday, with a ceremony.
The grandson of two war veterans, Cruz will be bringing in speakers, like 95-year-old Rogaciano Dagdag, to share the history and plight of Filipino WWII veterans.
“It’s a community coming together remembering those who defended Bataan and Corregidor so this a very big milestone. 75 years and here you are,” says Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque from the Filipino Veterans Foundation.
“This is something that must be commemorated every year… young children, and I don’t think even young Americans here, know what happened in the Philippines. They didn’t even know about the Bataan Death March; so such heroism and gallantry must not be forgotten and we’re losing time,” said Cruz.
Philippine consulates are also spearheading efforts to raise funds for the recently-passed Congressional Medals of Honor.
There are an estimated 18,000 veterans left, and duplicates of the medal will cost around 50 dollars.
Aside from the month-long exhibit at the LA Consulate, the Filipino Veterans Foundation in the South Land will also hold an exhibit at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall.
There will also be a series of events, including an appearance by the veterans at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
These are small ways to ensure that people remember the veterans and the sacrifices they made.