COLUMBUS, Ohio – Surviving World War II veterans will receive their congressional gold medals on Oct. 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. during the Filipino Heritage Month celebration, U.S. Major General (retired) Antonio Taguba announced.
General Taguba, who spearheaded the CGM project, made the announcement when he spoke at the NaFFAA (National Federation of Filipino American Associations) Region 3 East Empowerment Conference held here on July 29-29, 2017.
It is recalled that the award of the congressional medals is mandated by a law signed by former President Obama last year. It is in recognition of the services and sacrifices of the Filipino veterans in World War II.
General Taguba recounted the events that led to the passage by the US Congress of a law authorizing the CGM awards.
He said that the CGM project is still a work in progress because there are still many things to be done. He said, though, that the medals will be ready for awarding to the surviving veterans in October.
At present, he said, FilVet is working with the US Mint on the minting of the gold medal and the replicas which will be distributed to the veterans. It is also listing and verifying the names of the WWII veterans, both living and deceased. Later, the names will be submitted for crosschecking and authentication.
During his speech, Taguba presented the front and obverse side of US Mint design of the gold medal and explained the significance of the design which indicates the years the veterans fought alongside with their US counterparts.
He related horrifying stories the veterans told him when he met them in the last five years. Some of those he had met already passed away.
There is need, he said, to gather all the information about the veterans from their spouses, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
There is also the need to raise funds needed for the minting of the replicas of the gold medals by the US Mint at an estimated cost of $52 each replica. General Taguba asked the state FilVet representatives to follow up on his request to get the names of the veterans, living or deceased, and submit them immediately for checking and authentication.
In Michigan, the veterans or their relatives are requested to submit the information to this writer, who is the state FilVet representative, by calling him at at 248-760-3468 or sending an email at reginaldo[at]comcast.net.