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Why We Fight

When the Pentagon reveals the casualties of America’s wars, it does not make distinctions of their ethnicity. They are all Americans, even for those who were not one quite yet.

Filipinos have been fighting for America since World War II. This Memorial Day, it may be worthwhile to understand why. It cannot be out of blind loyalty to a former master because our deep-rooted independence and individuality belie this. This martial affinity was never mercenary.

Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg speech posited that a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” marched into war to test whether “any nation so conceived, can long endure”.

Filipinos have always fought and died, not for territory or personal gain, rather for ideals. For freedom, the principle of equality, for justice and the inexorable truths that bind their common humanity. They see America embodying this valued spirit, and that is the reason why they fight with her. For as long as America lives true to her promise, she can count on Filipinos to help fill her armies.

Thousands of soldiers of Filipino origin or descent currently serve in the US Armed Forces. As an immigrant race, Filipinos are the 2nd biggest group of veterans in America, next only to Mexicans.

The FilAm community has an obligation to consecrate the memory of our heroes, care for those broken in battle, embrace their families and celebrate their feats of valor because in doing so, we evoke our own courage, our allegiance to Lincoln’s proposition and our resolve that a nation so conceived shall endure. (RJJ)

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