Filipino WWII Veterans were giving their Salute when Consul General Adelio Cruz laid the wreath for their fallen comrades at the 75th Anniversary Commemoration on April 11, 2017 at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. The panel of Speakers and the Community in attendance gave them in turn a rousing applause at the end of the program for witnessing the milestone event.
The day started early, at the Hall of Administration when a dozen Filipino WWII Veterans, with their spouses, widows and advocates were recognized by Hon. Janice Hahn, Supervisor of the 4th District, with a Certificate of commendation handed to Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, representing the Filipino Veterans Foundation at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. Consul General Adelio Cruz and Gil Mislang, the curator of the exhibits of WWII memorabilia displayed at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall were also acknowledged for having coordinated the 75th Anniversary Program for April 11. Lynda Johnson, Field Deputy of Supervisor Hahn led the entourage to meet and greet the Board of Supervisors.
At the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, the Program started with the Carson High School Color Guards presenting the flags of the United States and the Philippines. Gen. Ruth Wong, Director of the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs welcomed the audience and gave her Salute to the Veterans. Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque showed the Film Clip on the Bataan Death March giving the historical perspectives of WWII. Then she introduced Robert Tidwell, portraying Gen. Douglas MacArthur who gave his remarks.
Consul General Cruz gave his brief but heartfelt Keynote Address, having visited and bonded with the Veterans at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall since he took office in the Fall. He thanked Gen. Wong, Director the Dept. of the Military and Veterans of the L.A. County for giving the Veterans a place to call the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall as their second home where they can meet their comrades and friends every Tuesday, held together by the Filipino Veterans Foundation.
The City of Carson presented the Certificate of Commendation to the Filipino Veterans Foundation with the strong support of Councilman Elito Santarina, who was unable to attend. Juliet Martin led the singing of “Amazing Grace.”
The highlight was the Laying of the wreath brought forward by Manny Salomon former Chair of the Veterans Affairs Commission, City of Carson, and handed to Consul Gen. Cruz, who laid the wreath with a reverent salute followed by “Taps.”
Gil Mislang gave his remarks on why we must do this commemorative so the younger generation and generations to come will know about the sacrifice of the Bataan Death Marchers for our freedom and democracy. The closing remarks were given by Thomas Ruck, Director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, who ended the program with a prayerful benediction. Everyone sang “God Bless America” led by Emcee, Benito Miranda. A sumptuous luncheon reception followed at the Purple Heart Inn, supported by Patrons and Donors.
Dr. and Mrs. Manuel Baculi, Archie Calunod, Zeny Sabocor, Vicky Soong, Lydia Solis, Marilou Barreto and supporters gave their congratulatory compliments, at the same time handed checks as donation from the organizations they represent, namely PEDRO, Kalayaan Inc., the Bicolandia organization, and the Philippine Women’s Alumni Association. Evelyn Andamo, Paraluman Tabuena, Manuel Salomon and Dr. Sal Abiera were also present and gave their generous contribution as Patrons. Unable to attend but donated were Joe Merton, Lina Phillips, Alex Cainglet, Hon. Lito Santarina, The Philippine Independence Inc. of Carson, Jim Dear and Pete Fajardo, former Mayors of Carson, AVA IPA led by Dr. Arnel Joaquin and the Prim Patterson family, descendants of a Bataan Death March survivor.
The Volunteers, led by Linda Organo, Juliet Balaoro, Maria Gutierrez, Ben and Coreen Ramos, Ray Manalo, Romeo and Minda Bejo, with Don Lawrence and Charlie Batongmalaque of E.R.B. Foundation and Filipino Veterans Foundation, produced an almost flawless one-hour program at the Auditorium of Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, with the assistance of Deputy Director Stephanie Stone, Rose Bueta, Chuck Jester and Tatiana Rosas of the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs. Gil Mislang, the Curator and Director of the Lt. Alex Nininger Chapter of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, together with Wilma Bautista, Cultural Affairs of the Philippine Consulate coordinated with the Filipino Veterans Foundation which made the week-long commemorative a success. Graphics for the program was created by Sam Baton.
Most of all, the Filipino WWII Veterans present were appreciative of the event and the attention they received from everyone. They also gave generously to the occasion, namely: Veterans Juanito and Olive Piamonte, Roger and Mrs. Dagdag, Vicente and Mrs. Palad, Fred and Mrs. Credo, Marcelino and Tita Gawat, Constantine and Mrs. Pontillas, Leonardo and Mrs. Samson, Simplicio Mique, Primitivo Culas, Meliton Bantiles, Helen Casipe, recently widowed of the late Nicolas Casipe, Sam Johnson, and Jesus Matias.
A USAFFE Veteran, Celso Mamaid, 94, passed away the day before the program. Absent from the program were Cmdr. and Mrs. Emeterio Corpuz, Eliseo and Mrs. Tomines, Ramon Lladoc, Dionisio Dukha, Alfredo and Felisa Lorenzo, Julian Dologuin, Leonardo and Mrs. Crook, Adelio Diaz and Lope Atanacio. They wish to convey their heartfelt “Thank you,” to all who remembers Bataan and Corregidor.
You can be their advocate and meet them every Tuesday for a pot-luck lunch on Tuesdays at the Doolittle Room in the ground-floor of the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. Call Julie Balaoro for details at 310-424-757-2504. (Contributed by Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque)