Post by indiosbravos on Nov 11, 2008 21:19:50 GMT -5
That's why we're doing this...the least we can do to honor them and make sure that they will never be forgotten....
We call it here Remembrance Day....Reenactors don't normally participate (if they do, I'm not aware). Mostly a Military thing with the Veterans of all War and Military Conflicts. A kind of a solemn celebrations involving the relatives of all the Fallen as well. The Queen and the Royals always took part in this event. Weeks or so before this, most people can be seen wearing "Poppy Flower" pinned in their clothes. (sort of like a corsage only a paper one)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA --- Despite the uncertainty that has surrounded their plight, Filipino American World War 2 veterans turned out for the Veteran's Day Parade in downtown San Francisco last Sunday. With the youngest being at least in their late 70s, the 'manongs' of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments (California's Own) were part of 100 other groups from the Bay Area that participated in the parade from Market Street to City Hall. "Filipinos and Americans are blood brothers. This was forged in Bataan and Corregidor," said Renie Champagne, this year's parade director, during his introduction of the Fil-Am veterans.
Champagne said the 1st and Filipino Regiments "are always highlights in the parade and we will always welcome their participation". The 87-year old Texan was wounded after a kamikaze suicide plane crashed on his aircraft carrier during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, history's largest naval battle.The Fil-Am veterans, frail yet looking snappy in their US Army Green service uniforms, rode in Humvees and all-terrain trucks from the transport company of the Army Reserve's 75th Infantry Division. True to the Filipino familial heritage, most were accompanied by their wives and family members. The delegation was led by an honor guard composed of active duty Filipino-American soldiers. Also present and showing their (very loud) support were around 50 flag-waving members of the Fil-Am Riders Bay Area in their souped-up Harleys and Japanese big bikes.
The 1st and the 2nd Regiments were raised in 1942 in California and was composed of Filipino expatriates who volunteered to fight the Japanese. The unit saw action during the liberation of the Philippines in 1944-45.
The crowd lining the streets was sparse, maybe due in part to the unpopularity of Iraq and Afghanistan, but this did not prevent the veterans from receiving applause and meaningful "Thank you's!" from the people who braved the early morning chill to honor the vets. Some of the aged warriors carried posters asking people to support S.1315 or the Veteran's Benefits Enhancement Act, which for decades they have fought so hard for.
It was last April that the Senate voted 96-1 to pass S. 1315 which grants a monthly pension to surviving veterans: $900 for US residents, $300 for those living in the Philippines, and $200 for their widows.
Last September however, the House of Representatives had their own version of S. 1315 minus the provision of the monthly pension to Filipino World War 2 veterans. Congress instead voted to pass H.R. 6897, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2008, which gives a one-time payment of $15,000 to veterans living in the US and $9,000 to those in the Philippines. Widows will receive nothing. But due to other pressing concerns, Congress focused on the flagging economy and adjourned on Oct. 3. ignoring the Filipino veteran bills altogether.
US Army records state that 265,000 Filipinos responded to the call of then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and fought under the Commonwealth Army in World War II as American nationals. The Veterans' Affairs Office said there are only around 33,000 left. At the end of the war, Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 which basically took away veterans' benefits from these Filipino soldiers – except those with proven service-connected disability, the only ones of 66 US allies to be stripped of rightful benefits for military service. But despite history's iniquities and the lack of official recognition from a country they have gladly given their lives to, the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments of the US Army will continue to be fixtures of Veteran's Day. It is only appropriate that every Hummer bearing a veteran towed a howitzer, with a platitude - Duty, Honor, Loyalty, Country, which perfectly describes these men.