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09/04/2018: WWII FILVETS HONORED AT 76th ARAW NG KAGITINGAN COMMEMORATION IN HONOLULU

The cloudy weather forecast for Honolulu in the morning of 7 April 2018 did not deter nearly 130 individuals comprising of US and Philippine government officials, Hawaii legislators, members of Hawaii’s consular corps, military officials from the US Pacific Command (PACOM), and members of the Filipino community in Hawaii from gathering to pay tribute to the legacy and bravery of the Filipino veterans of World War II veterans at a commemoration ceremony marking the 76th Araw ng Kagitingan at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Special guests include US Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige, Rear Admiral Patrick A. Piercey, Director for Plans and Programs on the US PACOM, on behalf of PACOM Commander Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr, and Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

In his Araw ng Kagitingan Address, Consul General Joselito A. Jimeno remarked that the solemn celebration was being held “to pay tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of the men who fought and perished in Corregidor, and in the infamous Bataan Death March. Some lived through those horrific events. They are with us here today, Filipino American veterans and their families. We proudly honor them, as we do the 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war who fought in valiant defense of their country”.

He also added that this year’s commemoration was particularly significant because just last 25 October 2017, nearly 75 years after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, the U.S. Congress finally bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, to Filipino World War II veterans at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

The Consul General also announced that an awarding ceremony of replica Congressional medals in Honolulu is being organized by the Filipino Veterans recognition and Education Project at the Filipino Community Center on 6 May 2018.

Offering their messages for the occasion were Hawaii Governor David Ige and Rear Admiral Patrick. A. Piercey of the US PACOM. Senator Mazie Hirono, Representative Tulsi Gabbard and County of Hawaii Mayor Harry Kim also sent their messages for the occasion.

Consul General Jimeno, with Madame Araceli C. Jimeno led the wreath-laying ceremony, where wreaths, leis and other memorial offerings were presented at the Honolulu Memorial’s dedication stone in honor of the fallen war veterans.

The solemn ceremony was capped with military honors, consisting of a rifle salute and playing of taps by the US PACOM and its command units.

The Araw ng Kagitingan is an annual commemorative ceremony organized by the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, in cooperation with the AFP Liaison Office to the US Pacific Command and the Philippine Celebrations Coordinating Committee of Hawaii (PCCCH) to honor the heroism of our fallen heroes who fought for freedom during the Second World War.

It is held on the anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, which culminated in the surrender of nearly 80,000 Filipino and American troops, and the Bataan Death March, which claimed around 10,000 Filipino and American lives in April 1942. (END).