Retired Army general, college students call for gold medal recognition for FilVets

SAN FRANCISCO – During the annual Veterans Day Parade in San Francisco Filipino American college students proudly marched along side Filipino World War II veterans who continue to fight for recognition for their services.

The war had been over for 50 years when the youngest of these college students were born; however, age has not stopped their passion in fighting for these veteranos.

“I think a lot of college students especially those involved with Kasamahan are very in tuned with their history and their history is part of their Filipino identity,” said Juliet Langit of the University of San Francisco. “So it is important that we continue to educate the people in the San Francisco community about the struggles that the veteranos have faced in World War II.”

“For anything to be successful it has to be cross-generational,” said Emily Enriquez of San Francisco State University. “It can’t just include one age group. It has to include the youth like ourselves in order for something to be successful. We learn from those who came before us. We stand on their shoulders and we’re here to support them.”

Retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio Taguba is leading the charge in urging Congress to pass a law that would award the veterans with the congressional gold medal.

A total of 67 U.S. senators and 218 U.S. representatives are needed to co-sponsor the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015.

According to Taguba, currently only 28 senators and 40 representatives are signed on.

“This is 73 years in the making,” said Taguba. “The war ended in 1946. It is now 2015. Out of the 260,000 that fought during World War II, four years of combat, we have about 18,000 remaining; 9,000 here in the United States and 9,000 residing in the Philippines. They die about 15 a day.”

General Taguba calls on all people to contact their city, state and congressional representatives and urge them to co-sponsor the bill.

“This is a non-partisan issue,” said Taguba. “Nobody asked those veterans if they were Republican, Democratic, or Independent. What they were asked and ordered to do was to defend a country called the United States of America and they did that. Thousands died, thousands were prisoners of war and thousands were wounded for life.”

General Taguba says that they need to complete the required co-sponsors no later than September 2016 to avoid conflicting with issues of the presidential election.

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