- Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award given by the United States government to civilians.
- American citizenship is not a requirement to receive the award.
- Around 250,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans served during World War 2.
Filipino veterans who fought during World War 2 are now eligible to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, our nation’s highest civilian honor. The bill was passed unanimously over the summer by the Senate, and it will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.
Many Filipino, Filipino-American Servicemen Did Not Receive Full Recognition After World War 2
KAYA: Filipino-Americans for Progress applauded the decision, saying they are grateful for the House and the Senate for passing the legislation. They also expressed gratitude to advocacy groups who pushed for the bill to be passed.
Approximately 250,000 Filipinos fought for the United States during the Second World War. Sadly, many of these Filipino veterans did not receive full recognition due to the Rescission Act of 1946.
Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus released the following statements as reported by the Asian American Press:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am thrilled that the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation today to grant long overdue recognition to our Filipino World War II veterans. During World War II, more than 200,000 Filipino soldiers served bravely alongside American forces and played a critical role in ultimately helping the United States to achieve victory in the Pacific. We in CAPAC have made it a top priority to ensure that these Filipino World War II veterans receive the benefits and recognition that they deserve, and the passage of today’s bill is a tremendous victory for our veterans and the broader Filipino American community.”
“I want to especially commend Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Gabbard for their leadership to ensure that we properly honor these heroic veterans, and I urge President Obama to sign this bill into law before the end of the year.”
Filipino Veterans Group Celebrate Legislation Recognizing Service
The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project lauded the passing of the bill on their Facebook page. The group is a nonpartisan, community-based, all-volunteer national initiative whose goal is to raise awareness and obtain national recognition for Filipino and Filipino-American WWII Soldiers.
Many veterans have already passed away without being recognized for their service. However, the bill is seen as a victory in their memory as well as for those who are still living.