In a ceremony at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday (July 4), the names of the 11 men were read and recognized as their families accepted the US Congressional Gold Medal on their behalf.
More than 260,000 Filipino soldiers fought for the United States from 1941- 46, when the Philippines was a US colony. 76 years later, less than 10,000 Filipino veterans are still alive.
“We hope this will be an ongoing celebration and ongoing honor to all the World War Two veterans that are still out there, and some are alive and very old. Some of them are dying to this day, because they’re not being recognized as an American citizen as promised,” said Erlinda, the daughter of Sgt. First Class Felix Deveraturda.
Deveraturda served in the Army of the United States Philippine Scouts 57th infantry, survived the Bataan Death March and was a prisoner of war.
The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project has organized nearly 100 similar ceremonies across the country since 2017. Some 3,000 medals have been awarded so far.
Many Filipino veterans continue to fight for benefits they’re entitled to, including citizenship and compensation.