By Roy Mabasa
A top United States Embassy official on Monday paid tribute to hundreds of Filipino and American war veterans who shun their self-interests and personal concerns in defense of the two countries’ freedom and liberty.
Speaking at the Veterans Day commemoration rites at the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission John Law said the debt that the two nations owe these men and women are “not one we can easily repay but we can eternally remember.”
“These men and women did not survive to be called veterans. They are patriots who took up arms to defend our two countries with an extraordinary ability to forget their own self-interest… above their mere personal concerns,” Law said in a speech he delivered on behalf of Ambassador Sung Kim.
In his remarks, the US diplomat also honored the remains of 17,206 Filipino and American service members who died in the Pacific, China, India, and Burma during World War 2, including the 32,286 Filipinos and Americans who are missing but whose names are inscribed on the hemicycle walls of the cemetery.
Law further said that Filipino and American veterans, including those from allied countries, “represent the very best of all our countries and our allies for freedom.”
He expressed hope that the friendship, partnership and enduring alliance between the Philippines and the United States will continue to serve both nations to “ensure the peace, to preserve regional stability, promote economic opportunity and protect and defend our freedoms.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Kim conveyed his personal Veterans Day message through the social media citing, among others, the sacrifices made by both American and Filipino servicemen who “stood should-to-shoulder for a peaceful world.”
Veterans Day is observed in the United States on November 11 of every year in honor of veterans who served in the US armed forces.