The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill to award all Filipino World War II the Congressional Gold Medal for risking their lives for the US during World War Two.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award that Congress can bestow.
Senator Mazie K Hirono (Dem.- Hawaii), along with Senator Dean Heller (Dem.- Nevada) lead the bill which had been backed by a broad, bipartisan coalition of 71 co-sponsoring senators.
Act S.1555, or the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, will help recognise more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino American soldiers who responded to US President Theodore Roosevelt’s call to fight under recognition of the American Flag.
The US House of Representatives must now pass bill HR 2737, which will send the bill to President Obama for his signature.
Sen. Hirono said “Today, the Senate provided recognition to Filipino World War II veterans for their brave and courageous service to the United States. These veterans were instrumental to an Allied victory in the Pacific theater, but their fight didn’t end with the war.
“For decades, they have continued to fight for the benefits they have earned and to be reunited with their families in the United States.
“I thank my Senate colleagues for joining me in recognising these veterans’ service and sacrifice with the Congressional Gold Medal, one of our nation’s highest civilian honours.”
Senator Harry Reid (Dem-Nevada), said: “While we can never fully repay the debt we owe these brave soldiers, Congress can pay tribute to their courage by awarding them with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Granting Filipino veterans this honor will be yet another step taken in correcting past wrongs and celebrating their heroic actions and the patriotism of their community.”
Republican Senator Dean Heller, also of Nevada, said: “Nevada is home to ‘The Mighty Five’ Filipino veterans – a group of heroes I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the years.
“While some are no longer with us, I am proud this legislation will finally ensure they receive proper recognition for their valiant acts of military service.”
Today only 15,000 surviving veterans of World War II live in the United States and the Philippines. Many of them are in their mid-90s.