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Consul General Bensurto with war veterans and Bataan Legacy Historical Society Executive Director Cecilia Gaerlan

The Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS), Memorare Manila 1945, American Legion War Memorial Commission and the VFW 4618 91st Division Chinatown Post commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Philippines at the War Memorial Veterans Building on Wednesday, 07 December 2016.

At the invitation of BLHS Executive Director Cecilia Gaerlan and Memorare Manila’s Connie McHugh, Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. was requested to give brief remarks on behalf of the Philippine Consulate.  He said that while the Community commemorates the tragic circumstances surrounding WWII, the efforts of various Filipino-American organizations in remembering the sacrifices of the war veterans have borne fruit, as the House of Representatives passed the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act on November 30, 2016 honoring approximately 260,000 Filipinos who fought during WWII in the Philippines under the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).

He recalled that the State Board of Education approved the inclusion in the U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11 the contributions of the Philippines and Filipino soldiers during the War, and joined the call in encouraging the Community to make sure that these additions are taught in high schools throughout California.

In closing, he encouraged the Community to “continue to lobby with our lawmakers to make sure that these developments are fully implemented, that our veterans are given the benefits that are due them, and that high school-aged students are taught the sacrifices and hardships that our war veterans endured during World War II.”

Phil Gioia, a military historian and war veteran himself, gave an informative keynote speech on the circumstances leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.

Ms. Gaerlan ended the evening with a film showing about World War II veterans.

Madame Mariza Bensurto, Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon and Vice Consul Carlyn A. Monastrial also attended the event in supports of Community partners Bataan Legacy and Memorare Manila.  END

The U.S. Army Color Guard, 91st Division, led by MSG. (Ret.) Stanley Kamiya performed the Color Guard.