County Council honors Filipino History Month - veterans to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Monday, October 16, 2017

Surrounded by community members and Filipino veterans, the members of the
King County Council proclaimed October Filipino American History Month in King County.
Photo courtesy King County Council

National Recognition Highlights Filipino American History Month

This year’s recognition by the Metropolitan King County Council of Filipino History Month has special meaning for many families throughout the County. The recognition presented by the Council today not only celebrates the rich tradition and heritage of King County’s Filipino community, it also recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of the Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II in support of the United States and to liberate their island nation.

“This year we recognize and celebrate history and heritage, as well as honor and sacrifice,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the proclamation. 
“The Filipino community has been active throughout King County for over one hundred years, so we recognize their impact on the region. This year we celebrate those WWII soldiers who are finally being honored for their service to a country that didn’t recognize their sacrifice for over a half century.”

Filipino Veterans to receive Congressional Gold Medal for their service during WWII

On October 25, the members of the Philippines Commonwealth Army and the Special Philippines Scouts who joined the Allied Forces to fight in the Pacific as part of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East, will be recognized for their service. Those soldiers, representing the more than 280,000 Filipino citizens drafted by President Franklin Roosevelt to fight in the war, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in the Pacific along with those Filipinos who served in the US Armed Forces.

The congressional ceremony is the culmination of an effort that has spanned over seven decades to have the service of the Filipino veterans recognized by the United States.

“We secured the Congressional Gold Medal to honor our veterans and demonstrate our deepest gratitude for their supreme sacrifice,” said FilVetREP Chairman Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret). 
“We will ensure that our national celebration of this historic achievement is one that treats our veterans with the utmost dignity and respect. We are, therefore, calling on all our supporters to make this important event happen. It’s for our veterans and they deserve to have a memorable event.”

Along with recognizing the bravery and sacrifice of these veterans, the recognition highlights the history of the Filipino residents on this continent, which predates the arrival of the colonists in what has become the United States by close to 50 years.

Over the last five centuries, Filipinos have become a vital part of the American history, especially on the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest. In Washington, Filipinos have worked in a number of industries, but were prominent in the state’s maritime, service, agricultural and fishing industries.

Filipino organizers played a vital role in the desegregation of the unions that represented those who worked in the fishing industry including the Alaska Cannery Workers Union, International Longshore and Warehouse Union.


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