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Monday, January 22, 2018

Congressional Gold Medal presentation to Filipino World War II Veterans planned for Houston

Houston, Texas Plans are underway for a Houston ceremony honoring Filipino World War II veterans, whose service and sacrifice have been finally recognized by the U.S. with the passage of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, which is now Public Law114-265. January 27, Saturday, at the Lone Star Flight Museum, there will be an official Houston presentation to families and veterans qualifying for the medal who could not attend the Washington DC ceremony. “We are holding this ceremony in our town and we want the veterans and families to feel special,” said Region 7 Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP) Director Christy Poisot. Filipino Veterans of World War II received a Congressional Gold Medal October 25, 2017 during a ceremony in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol. It was awarded collectively to those who served honorably in an active duty status between July 26, 1941, and December 31, 1946 under the command of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) within the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Philippine Scouts, the Philippine Constabulary, recognized guerrilla units, the New Philippine Scouts, the First Filipino Infantry Regiment, the Second Filipino Infantry Battalion (Separate), or the First Reconnaissance Battalion, including those commanding or serving as U.S. military officers or enlisted soldiers. The Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) is one of the highest civilian awards bestowed by the United States for persons or groups who have performed an achievement that have an impact on American history and culture. In particular, this award is a public expression of the U.S. Congress’ gratitude on behalf of the nation for the distinguished contributions of 260,000 Filipino soldiers and guerrillas during World War II in the Philippines. Surviving Filipino and American veterans or their next-of-kin will receive bronze replicas of the CGM and a copy of Public Law 114-265. Expected to attend are Congressional sponsors, City of Houston officials, high ranking general officers from the US Army and US Air Force, veteran advocates, community leaders and supporters. “We secured the Congressional Gold Medal to honor our veterans and demonstrate our deepest gratitude for their supreme sacrifice,” said FilVetREP Chairman Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret). “It’s for our veterans and they deserve to have a memorable event.” Medal recipients in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma who are unable to attend the Houston ceremony should look out for other ceremonies on the FilVetREP website. National Registry. Bronze replicas will be awarded only to surviving veterans or their next-of-kin whose eligibility for CGM has been vetted and whose names are included in FilVetREP’s national veterans’ registry. “It is essential that veterans and their families register as soon as possible to make sure they are included in the award ceremony,” Taguba adds. Applications and instructions for submission may be downloaded from FilVetREP’s website, www.filvetrep.org. Each of the FILVETREP regional directors are responsible for contacting the veterans and families to help them register. Bronze replicas are not funded by the U.S. government, but rather by donations from the public. Donations to support FilVetREP’s CGM activities are accepted through the FilVetREP website. CGM Design and Approval Process. FilVetREP met with the U.S. Mint’s Office of Design Management in providing significant input and recommendations to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission on Fine Arts (CFA). The U.S. Mint is the nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, commemorative coins and congressional gold medals, and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the nation to conduct its trade and commerce. CCAC is an advisory committee established in 2003 by Congress under Public Law 108-15 to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on the themes and designs of all U.S. coins and medals; CFA is an independent federal agency charged with giving expert advice on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital. The minting process, which typically takes about three months, basically involves translating a 14-page legislation (i.e., Public Law 114-265) into a graphic design engraved on a 3-inchmedal minted in solid gold. The CGM legislation provides that the Smithsonian Institution will be the repository for the CGM where it will be available for display and research. The CGM legislation also requires the Smithsonian Institution to make the CGM available for display elsewhere. Currently, the plan is for the CGM to be permanently housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History or another national museum of similar repute. (From Ed Gar)

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