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Hawaii ceremony to honor Filipino World War II veterans

Filipino veteran Celestino Almeda speaks about his World War II service during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 25, 2017. A Hawaii ceremony will be held in May 2018 to honor Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES

By THE HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER Published: March 10, 2018

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — A Hawaii ceremony will be held in May to honor Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Following the ceremony held in October at the U.S. Capitol's Emancipation Hall in Washington, D.C., by congressional leaders to honor Filipino WWII veterans, organizers of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project have either held or plan to hold regional ceremonies nationwide to present veterans with bronze replicas of the medal.

More than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American veterans fought with the U.S. during the war, including more than 57,000 soldiers who died. Many who survived are now over age 85.

Veterans eligible to receive the medal are those who served active duty during WWII from July 1941 to December 1946 under the command of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East and within the Philippine Commonwealth Army, Philippine Scouts, Philippine Constabulary, Recognized Guerrilla units, New Philippine Scouts, First Filipino Infantry Regiment, Second Filipino Infantry Battalion or the First Reconnaissance Battalion.

Family members of deceased veterans may submit an application on their behalf.

Anita Loando-Acohido of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project– Region 11 – which covers Hawaii, Guam, Samoa and the Mariana Islands – said about 150 applications have been received from Hawaii alone.

The deadline to submit applications and supporting documents, and be recognized at the upcoming ceremony, is March 16. Download applications at the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project website and mail them to the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project-Region 11 at P.O. Box 860654, Wahiawa, HI 96786.

The ceremony will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. May 6 at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, where veterans or their next of kin will be presented with bronze replicas of the medal produced by the U.S. Mint.

Loando-Acohido said those who are unable to meet the deadline are still encouraged to submit an application as organizers plan to hold another ceremony, possibly on a smaller scale, in the future.

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