Col. Ed Ramsey speaking to the Congressional Committee on Veterans Affairs
Additional Testimony from February 14, 2007
The Congressional Committee on Veterans Affairs (center is Cong. Bob Filner, Chairman.)
Col. Ed Ramsey speaking to a hearing on Veterans Affairs in the afternoon
Col. Ed Ramsey with wife Raqui outside the Cannon House Office Bldg.
(R to L) Cong. Michael Honda, 15th district of California, Col. Ed Ramsey, Col. Romy Monteyro, unidentified speaker
MG Delfin Lorenzana, Head Veterans Affairs with Ed
L to R: Alma Reed, NaFFAA National Chair, Ed, Raqui, Doy Heredia
L to R: Rep. Bob Filner, Alma Reed, Ed, Raqui, Doy Heredia
L to R: Lou Tancino, Romy Monteyro, Susan Dikes, Ed
Romy Monteyro and Ed Ramsey
Ed speaks on behalf of Filipino Veterans
(Click on any image below)
Philippine Scouts - Congressional Hearings on Veteran Affairs
February 14-15, 2007
Testimony of Colonel Romeo M Monteyro, PA (Ret.), Spokesman for the Filipino World War II Veterans Federation of San Diego County before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, February 15, 2007
Mr. Chairman, Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me here today. In the next five minutes, allow me to dwell on a particular subject--- the loyalty of the Filipinos to America, before, during and beyond World War II.
Private Tomas Claudio, a Filipino, was a member of the American Expeditionary Forces which fought in France in World War I. A mere foot note in history, he is unknown to Americans, but U.S. Army records place him as the first Filipino to die for America. He was a farm worker in California when America entered the First World War. He need not enlist, but he did, out of patriotism and love for his adoptive country.
Then there was Jose Abad Santos, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Commonwealth. He became the caretaker of the Commonwealth government after President Manuel L. Quezon was ordered out by President Roosevelt. The enemy caught up with him in Lanao, Mindanao and was told to publicly renounce his allegiance to America and pledge loyalty to the Japanese government. When he refused he was tried by a kangaroo court and was sentenced to die by firing squad. On the eve of his execution, he told his son, “Do not cry my son. Show these people that you are brave. Not everyone is given a chance to die for his country. The loyal and brave Chief Justice chose to die for America.
In the movie “The Great Raid” the loyalty of the Filipinos to America was depicted factually. Filipino civilians risked their lives by smuggling food, medicine and money to starving and sick American prisoners of war. Resistance fighters blocked a stronger Japanese force and prevented it from reinforcing the prison guards at Cabanatuan City, paving the way for the successful rescue of more than 500 American POWs by a battalion of U.S. Army Rangers.
President Harry S. Truman said, as he reluctantly signed the Rescission Act of 1946, “This does not absolve America of its moral obligations to the Filipino veterans.” President Bill Clinton commented, during the awards ceremony for WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipients of Japanese and Filipino descents, 59 years late, ”rarely has a country been so well served by a people it has so ill-treated. They risked their lives above and beyond the call of duty, and in so doing they did more than defend America. In the face of painful prejudice, they helped define America at its best."
In Bataan, soldier-poet Lieutenant Henry G. Lee wrote this poem after he watched a haggard group of Philippine Commonwealth Army troops:
Obsolete rifle without a sling And a bolo tied with a piece of string Coconut hat and canvas shoes And shoddy, dust white, denim blues These are the men who fought and fled And fought again and left their dead Who fought and died as the white man planned And never quite learn to understand Poorly officered, under fed Often driven but never led Lied to, and cheated and sent to die For a foreign flag in their native sky
Lieutenant Lee survived Bataan, the Death March and even the POW camp atrocities but was ironically killed by American bombs dropped on the ship transporting him to Japan. Owed a moral obligation! Served well though ill-treated, subjected to painful prejudice! Lied to and cheated and sent to die, for a foreign flag in their native sky! Yet they remained steadfastly loyal! Ladies and gentlemen of this Committee, isn’t it high time the Filipino soldiers who fought for America in World War II, be rewarded, if only for their loyalty? I know it will probably be a question of money again. Former Congressman Stump who headed this Committee during his time in Congress, once asked, “And where do you suggest we get the money to pay the Filipino veterans?” My answer to that is, “from the same source which funds the Iraq war. The Iraqis have not done anything in defense of America. In fact most of them hate us, and even as we speak, are trying their best to kill American soldiers. On the other hand, the Filipino veterans fought for America and their shabby treatment notwithstanding, have remained loyal and ever ready to stand by America.
How loyal was the Filipino soldiers to America? Ask Col Ramsey, the living testimony to their loyalty. If had been in another country in World War II they would have turned him over to the enemy, or worse kill him and collect the prize money on his head. Yet today, he is here with us because the Filipinos remained loyal to the U.S.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of this Committee. That concludes my testimony today.
[Images used with permission]
Filipino Word War II Veterans - Congressional Recognition
75 years after Filipino WWII veterans joined the US to defeat Japan, they have been formally recognized by Congress and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service and their sacrifice. The Associated Press has published two videos of the presentation on YouTube, viewable below. Raqui writes:
Dear Family & Friends,
My day started with a phone call from Alice Benitez who told me that the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony at Emancipation Hall in the Capitol would be Live on Youtube starting at 8:00 AM my time.
Without breakfast, I rushed to the computer and watched with tears as the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and the Leadership of both Houses spoke and then I saw Filipino Veteran, Celestino Almeda who was at Ed's burial in Arlington on June 28, 2013. I am enclosing a photo of him visiting Ed at Arlington on Veterans Day 2014. I was so touched when they called on Alice Benitez whose Dad, Judge Benitez was inducted into the Guerilla Forces by Ed at their home in Pangasinan. Ed was applauding from above!
Then at 10:00 AM while having breakfast, Tricia Aurand, who is working with me on the book of Nadine, arrived and interviewed me and we spent the next three hours talking about Nadine, Ed and the Ramsey Family. I was totally drained.
So, as VETERANS DAY approaches, I want to share with you a photo of Celestino Almeda, 100 years young who was honored at today's ceremony and spoke on behalf of his comrades like Ed. This is what Ed advocated for all these years; the Recognition of the Filipino Veterans and after 75 years, his dream came true today. MABUHAY! SALAMAT! MAHALO! ALOHA!
HAPPY VETERANS DAY!
Love & prayers, Raqui
Highlights (about 3 minutes)
Full Ceremony (about 1 hour)
October 25, 2017
Note: When playing the videos, you may click the "full screen" box for a larger view.