THE Justice For Filipino American Veterans, in collaboration with the Philippine Institute For Arts, Language and Culture, awarded “gold medals” to 14 World War II veterans and their surviving kin during the commemoration of the 76th Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
The December 7, 1941 Japanese bombing of the United States Naval Base in Hawaii left 2,800 American sailors dead and 710 others wounded. It also destroyed 18 ships, including five battleships.
The next day, Japanese fighter planes and bombers also attacked and overwhelmed the American air force in Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Philippines. This onslaught signaled the start of Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the eventual involvement of Filipinos into World War II.
“As we commemorate this infamous day (Pearl Harbor), we also want to honor our veterans who fought the vicious and bloody war that raged on Philippine soil soon after,” said Al Garcia, JFAV national coordinator, during a simple but fun-filled awarding ceremony at the Filipino Cultural Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Veteran Franco Arcebal personally received the gold medal while Cedric Lea Bisnar, Modesta Surnaba, Nimfa Furing, Eduardo Castaneda, Rey Ganon, Leopoldo Bas, Bernardo Buenavista, Timoteo Ormita, Dr. Arturo Flores, Stephanie Sajor, Beverly Sipin and Rosemarie Bandayrel received the medals in behalf of their deceased kin who too are WWII veterans.
Iraq war veteran, Marine Sgt. Mark Villamac Ho, his mother Ludy Gilkison and Miss Young Philippines Alexis assisted in the awarding of the gold medals.
Garcia said JFAV would be awarding more gold medals to veterans and their families who reside in California.
The night was also an occasion for PILAC’s 2nd Himig Pasko. Choirs from the Sacred Heart Parish, St. Ignatius Parish, the Golden Agers of Los Angeles (GALA), the Silver Lake CBAS and Burlington School teachers participated in the singing of Christmas carols.
The participants were awarded with trophies and prizes by PILAC president Bernie Targa-Ganon and Emily Roberts, president emeritus.
The show was jointly hosted father and son tandem Mon Concepcion and DJ Jean Henri.
A band composed of Rolly Javier, Abner Galino and Robert Gamo performed during the night’s dancing segment.