BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Filipino American National Historical Society honored more than two dozen World War II veterans. Their surviving family members were given replicas of one of the nation’s highest honors.
In 2016, a single Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Filipinos for their service in World War II. Now, in Bakersfield more than 25 bronze replicas of that medal were given out to surviving family members of those who served.
The Delano Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society hosted Saturday’s event at Bakersfield College.
“There’s many different reasons why this is important but the one most important thing is that they asked Filipinos in California and the United States to start their own regimen of fighters and they participated in the United States army and they were awarded congressional gold medal for there service and that’s why we’re honoring them,” Dominador Tomate, secretary of the Filipino American National Historical Society, said.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award given by the U.S. Congress. In this case, the Congressional Gold Medal was given in recognition of the more than 250,000 thousand Filipino and Filipino-Americans that fought for our country during World War II.
“Filipino and Filipino-Americans that fought during World War II were basically discounted but now to gain the congressional gold medal is a symbol for the respect and recognition that they deserve,” Antonio Taguba a retired major general with the United States Army said.
For many this was an emotional moment in their family history. All of the veterans the awards are honoring have passed away and so their children take the awards in their place.
“I wish that this could have happened when our fathers were still alive, and our mothers could have been here as well,” Sam Mina a son of a World War II veteran said. “For us, we especially understand their sacrifice. Their courage and their patriotism.”
The majority of the World War II veterans that were honored at the ceremony were from Delano.