[PARTNER] Filipino Veterans To Be Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, U.S. Army Ret.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, U.S. Army Ret.

I am Major General Antonio M. Taguba, US Army Retired. I serve as Chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). It is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, non-partisan, community-based education, and public charity organization (EIN number 47-2422015). Our mission is to raise national awareness through academic research and public education on the wartime service and recognition of Filipino and Filipino American World War II soldiers who served from July 26, 1941 to December 31, 1946.

I am seeking your help on a long overdue historic project – to celebrate and memorialize the outstanding accomplishments of the Filipino and Filipino American Soldiers who achieved victory over the Japanese Imperial forces in defense of the United States in World War II.

To them, Duty to Country was worth dying for – to defend, preserve democracy and freedom for our country and its citizens.

Their Story ---

On July 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a military order directing all organized military forces be placed under the U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines commanded by General Douglas MacArthur. Over 260,000 soldiers fought alongside American soldiers under the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE). Some 60,000 of these soldiers died in combat, and thousands more were wounded for life or are still missing in action. After the war, the Rescission Acts passed into law in February 18, 1946 repealed their veterans’ benefits, and revoked their U.S. nationality status. The law severely devastated their morale and sense of allegiance to a country they served to protect and willingly died for. But they never wavered on their oath to serve.

The interminable cost of their mission – the infamous Bataan Death March and guerrilla war, and brutal ordeal to defend the United States and Philippines were unprecedented. They had guaranteed their mission with their lives, and in full measure to fight and defeat a savage enemy.

Yet, for 75 years, the WWII Veterans remained proud, steadfast, and loyal to the United States despite the humiliation, injustice, betrayal, and sense of inferiority they suffered after the war. They had waited all these long years and envisioned the day the United States and Congress would finally recognize them for their wartime accomplishments.

Filipino Veterans (Source: Inquirer.net)

Filipino Veterans (Source: Inquirer.net)

On December 14, 2016, in one of his last official acts in office, President Obama signed into law the Filipino Veterans of World War II Act (Public Law 114-265). This seminal, historic event in American history was the culmination of 75 years of their perseverance, and support from the members of Congress to recognize the Filipino Veterans for their courageous and selfless service in defending the United States and the Philippines from July 26, 1941 to December 31, 1946.

The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the nation’s highest distinguished awards bestowed to individuals, institutions, or groups that have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture.

To celebrate and remember their story –

In collaboration with the United States Mint and House Speaker Paul Ryan, we are planning a National Presentation event to formally recognize the Filipino Veterans of World War II with the Congressional Gold Medal. Speaker Ryan’s office is expected to announce a final date for the official National Presentation which could be as early as mid-October 2017.

We will follow the Congressional Gold Medal presentation with a formal celebration to demonstrate our nation’s deepest appreciation and debt of gratitude for their incredible sacrifice. There are but a few of the living WWII veterans remaining. It is our solemn commitment to continue telling their story as their voice – through education and public awareness.

Why we need your help with the mission –

By law, Congress will appropriate funds for a single Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) to be produced by the U.S. Mint. Public funds must be raised by FilVetREP to purchase several thousand CGM bronze replicas and presented to the living Veterans and their next of kin – representing their loved ones. The replicas will be presented to them replete with honor and dignity after the formal presentation by House Speaker Ryan.

The second phase of FilVetREP mission is the development of a digital, interactive, web based, and accessible education program to perpetuate the legacy of the Filipino

Veterans of WWII. This will be a joint project to include academic experts, community advocates, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. The overarching intent is to

demonstrate the historical significance of Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal, and the Veterans’ wartime service. It will provide a link across generations and cultures – edifying the value of Duty to Country…worth dying for. The valor and intrepidity of our Filipino Veterans of WWII must be preserved. Their magnificent story contributed greatly to American history, and influenced our lives and our future.

All net proceeds from the fundraising plan will directly benefit the Veterans and next of kin, our country, and your respective organization. All proceeds will go toward: 1) the purchase of 10,000 bronze replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal from the U.S. Mint, 2) the Speaker’s presentation and formal celebration, and 3) education development program.

Your contribution will help underwrite the cost of the project and is tax deductible as charitable donation less the value of any benefits received. Separate purchases of tickets for the presentation celebration would be partially tax deductible. You can deduct donations or contributions to FilVetREP as charitable deductions less any benefits received. Please consult your tax professional for more details regarding the deductions of charitable donations. The requested levels of sponsorship are attached.

The Filipino, Filipino American, and American soldiers who served, suffered, and died fighting to defend our country in the Philippines and the United States have earned the right to be recognized. It is now our obligation to raise awareness of their experience, to educate the American public, and preserve their legacy in U.S. history for generations to come.

It was their Duty to Country …worth dying for.

We look forward to your response and request that you please reply by or before September 30, 2017 regarding your sponsorship, donation or contribution. Please direct all responses and inquiries to Ben de Guzman, FilVetREP, Director of the Fundraising Campaign, at bdeguzman@gmail.com or 202-422-4909.