Filipino veterans of World War II have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, 75 years after they joined with the United States to defeat Japan.
At a ceremony Wednesday at the Capitol, a group of veterans and family members of those who died belatedly received the medals, the nation’s highest civilian award.
More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers served alongside U.S. soldiers in World War II, including more than 57,000 who died. After the war ended, President Harry Truman signed laws that stripped away promises of benefits and citizenship for Filipino veterans.
Only recently have the veterans won back some concessions and acknowledgment, including the gold medal. Some also received lump-sum payments as part of the 2009 economic stimulus law.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called Wednesday’s ceremony “long, long overdue.”