Filipinos in the U.S. Navy to Be Honored with Historical Marker
A new historical marker honoring the contributions of Filipinos in the American Navy is set to be unveiled in the U.S. state of Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the marker will commemorate the more than 35,000 Filipinos who served in the Navy from 1898 until the end of World War 2 in 1946, when the Philippines gained its independence.
“Filipinos served in the Navy as early as the Civil War but they enlisted in greater numbers when the U.S. took possession of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War,” the VDHR says in its website. “Hampton Roads emerged as one of the nation’s largest Filipino communities in proximity to a naval base.”
One of the US Navy veterans interviewed by 13NewsNow is Felipe Diaz of Virginia Beach
A report from a Virginia TV news station said the recognition is all thanks to nominations sent in by students during a statewide Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month contest.
“We went online and did some research, but our lola mostly told us about it, because we have family in the U.S. military,” said Fairfax County student Daniel Foley in the report. His lola is from the Philippines.
“We feel so proud that we get to be part of our family and that we get to learn more about our heritage,” said Daniel's sister, Ciara.
Additionally, the marker’s proposed location in Virginia carries much significance as it’s very close to the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia, a local institution that hosts various events and gatherings celebrating Filipino culture. The 13NewsNow reports said the PCCV is currently closed but has over 20 years of history in the community.
The Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia
Dr. Cynthia Romero, chair of the Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater, said that, besides the contributions of the Filipino Navy servicemen, the believes the marker will also highlight contributions of other Filipino-Americans in the region.
“We have brought our expertise in health care, in engineering, in law, in accounting and in education,” she said.
The 13NewsNow report said the VDHR currently has a backlog on Virgina historical marker, but the one for Virginia Beach honoring FIlipinos in the U.S. Navy should be unveiled by early next year.