filipinos in america and world war 2
we shouldn't find it difficult to imagine that filipinos and americans fought side by side during world war 2.

the war that touched every corner of the globe and turned everything upside down is largely responsible for the philippines' almost permanent love/hate relationship with the united states. by the time of the war in the pacific, the philippines was already a colony of the u.s. the japanese had their own agendas for world domination, and the philippines' location was a perfect place to launch their rule into australia and china. their march was so relentless that the u.s. had to bomb hiroshima and nagasaki to stop them. later, the u.s. installed bases in japan, and by then their former colony, the philippines.

in the midst of all these events are filipinos who fought in the american army. those who wanted to move to the u.s. were granted citizenship, but not military benefits.

military benefits provides you and your family insurance and free state college tuition, among other things. there are movements right now to attain more benefits, hinting that military families aren't getting equitable return for their sacrifices in the current war with iraq. filipino veterans who fought side by side with americans during world war 2 aren't even getting that level of benefits.

they've been waiting since the 1940s for that to change. it's already 2005. part of the reason it hasn't budged much since 60 years ago is because there isn't enough support and information for regular readers like us. the only way for our veterans to get equitable return for their pains is to change legislature.

the bill is called the filipino veterans equity act of 2005: for more information, you can go to congress' web site: from the main page, click on currrently on the house floor, and search for H.R. 302 and S. 146, or by keyword. you can help by letting your legislature know of your support. there are details on the full equity now Web site.

the first filipino world war 2 veterans i've encountered watched philippine folk dances at chicago's daley plaza for the philippine independence centennial celebrations back in 1998. the lolo (grandfather) wore medals on his lapel and his navy sailor's hat. i thought he was a police officer, until i saw the words "philippine world war 2 veteran" embroidered on his hat. i asked him about it, and by his stories, immediately assumed that the u.s. again deprived filipinos of their rights because it hasn't truly relinquished its role as colonizer.

i rarely see world war 2 veterans in social gatherings in chicago. the seniors in the gatherings i've been to in the past may very well be veterans, they just didn't don their gear. it's time we paid attention to the aging in our community. it's time we recognized this bit of our history.
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