Chairman Royce: “I am honored to rise today in support of recognizing these great heroes”

Washington, D.C. – Tonight the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation recognizing Filipino veterans of World War II and collectively awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act. I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the House version.

This unsung group of heroes fought courageously for the defense of our country during one of the most perilous periods of American history. Their valor and patriotism is deserving of this recognition from Congress.

In 1941, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms to fight under the American flag. In addition, 16,000 Filipino Americans enlisted from my home state of California where the U.S. Army’s 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments were organized.  

On December 8th, 1941, not even 24 hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Imperial forces attacked U.S. bases in the Philippines. Filipinos and Filipino Americans fought valiantly in the push to regain the Philippines from Imperial Japanese forces.

Mr. Speaker, 57,000 Filipinos in uniform died in the war effort. They gave their lives in battles such as Bataan and Corregidor. Their sacrifice was absolutely instrumental in disrupting the enemy’s advancement in the Pacific.

As President Harry Truman made clear, ‘They fought, as American nationals, under the American flag, and under the direction of our military leaders. They fought with gallantry and courage under the most difficult conditions.’

I am honored to rise today in support of recognizing these great heroes.

The contributions of the Filipino World War II veterans are an important part of American military history, and their accomplishments deserve the recognition of the Congressional Gold Medal.”

NOTE: As Foreign Affairs Chairman, Rep. Ed Royce led a bipartisan delegation to the Philippines.  Royce has long worked to improve U.S.- Philippine relations.  Video of Chairman Royce’s floor remarks is available HERE.