Los Angeles -It was a great honor to join House and Senate leaders this past Wednesday in presenting the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian honor the United States can bestow— to Filipino veterans of World War II.
This unsung group of heroes fought courageously for the defense of our country during one of the most important periods of American history. Their valor and patriotism is deserving of the highest civilian recognition from the U.S. Congress.
Some of the most significant contributions made by these veterans came when our nation needed them most. In 1941, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms to fight under the American flag. 16,000 Filipinos enlisted from in my home state of California, and subsequently the United States Army’s 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments were organized in California.
Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, over 100,000 of these Filipino soldiers fought valiantly under the United States Army in the push to regain the Philippines from Imperial Japanese forces.