Celebrating Filipino American National History Month October 2020

Filipino World War II veterans are honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on October 24, 2017 – a recognition by the U.S. Congress of their service and sacrifice. Photo by Les Talusan
By Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), Chairman

Our country is in a period of persistent turmoil with the coronavirus pandemic, over 204,000 citizens have died from COVID-19, millions of Americans unemployed, with a bleak economy, faced with highly contested presidential election looming in our thoughts, civil and violent protestations in several states, and the sense of desperation and unpredictability, there is still time to pause and celebrate Filipino American History Month in October 2020.

We are provided with the opportunity to celebrate Filipino American History Month in Oct 2020. This privilege was not without huge challenges of discrimination, prejudice, social injustice, but also replete with achievements and selfless service in contributing to the prominence, power, and influence in this country. We are very much a part of American heritage and have been during the American colonial period in 1898 in the Philippines.

Recall the centennial celebration of Filipino and Filipino Americans in 2006. The Smithsonian Institution commemorated the 100 years of Filipino immigrations to America. PBS featured the film Sandaan: The Filipino American Story produced by Sonny Izon, a Filipino American and renowned documentary film producer. The stories in this documentary film gave credence to the unique experience and contributions of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in America. The next centennial celebration in 2106 will be even greater for the beneficiaries of our generation.

We cannot take for granted that the United States is still the most revered country in the world despite its flaw. Filipinos and Filipino Americans still thrived to better their lives in this country. The young generation are becoming progressive and strive for excellence in their professional aspirations and representation.

This year we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Filipino Veterans Congressional Gold Medal presentation in Oct 2017. It is also the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of the Philippines during World War, and the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Japan or V-J that ended the war in the Pacific on September 2, 1945. These were seminal periods were testament to the resilience and perseverance of our people. It is also the historical period that gave rise in recognizing with high reverence the victory and tragic ordeals of the Filipino, Filipino-American soldiers, and Guerrillas who made possible for our lives to prosper and succeed. It is why we must nurture, contribute toward our representation with leaders of character, strive for success in our careers and vocations, and be vocal in expressing our views as proud American citizens.

Oct 2020 is our time to reflect about the past – on the sacrifice and achievements of our grandparents, fathers and mothers, and the Filipino veterans of WWII who defended our freedom and secured our lives today. Let us also be introspective with a vision in shaping our future, to focus on priorities that matters most – immigration, health care, growing representation in American society, education, and in growing future leaders in order to preserve our way of life and presence in this country.

Finally, we must exercise our duty as American citizens to vote with our heart and conscience for the best candidate who we can trust and rely on as President of the United States. We can no longer be the silent minority. We must be a vocal minority with a major stake in maintaining and sustaining what our people and community achieved since we came to America. We owe this much to our children and grandchildren. VOTE!!!