U.S. Veterans Day at Manila American Embassy

In observance of U.S. Veterans Day on Tuesday, November 11, the U.S. embassy in Manila and its affiliated offices will be closed to the public on that day.

Across the US, the U.S. holiday is spearheaded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake has earlier called on Americans to recognize “living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy.”

Records indicate there are 23.4 million American war veterans, including 107-year-old Frank Buckles, who fought in the First World War in Europe and lives at his West Virginia farm.

Filipino soldiers who fought alongside U.S. troops during World War II (WWII) are considered U.S. veterans and are still awaiting for the passage of the Filipino World War II Veterans Equity Bill in the U.S. Senate.

More than 35,000 Filipino soldiers survived WWII, now about 80 years old at average. Since WWII ended in 1945, they have patiently waited for the US government to correct what they consider are the “injustices” in the “obsolete” Recession Act.

If corrected, they will be entitled to compensation equal to that of their American counterparts. The Equity Bill could correct that injustice.

This week, with the perception that issues and policies involving minorities would be high on the presidential agenda of President-elect Barack Obama, Malacanang reiterated its optimism over its passage.

Philippine Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita assured that Obama recognizes the vital role of Filipino WWII veterans, based on the President-elect’s several statements.

Ermita told a press conference that Obama has made several references to the veterans bill. “And I suppose, with those coming directly from him, you will have a pretty good idea of what is forthcoming once he steps into the shoes of President George Bush as US president come January.”

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Categorized | Government