October 20, 2009 Library of Congress Recognizes Asian Pacific American Heroes
VHP and the Asian Division Friends Society Co-Host “Unsung Heroes”
Contact: Reme Grefalda, (202) 707-6096; Jeffrey Lofton, (202) 707-6432
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society will co-host a special commemorative program titled “Unsung Heroes: Asian Pacific American Heroism during World War II” on Monday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, Room 119, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.
Highlights of the day-long event include Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba’s overview of the war in the Pacific Theater, Japanese American Veterans Association’s Terry Shima’s reminiscence of the Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific, Anna Chennault’s recollection of her life with the Flying Tigers, and remembrances of Filipino veterans. Famous Flying Tiger veteran Fred Chiao, 93 years old, will be in attendance.
Other speakers include Kelly Kuruyama and Norman Ikari, who will share experiences of their WWII days on the Italian Front. John Gong will reminisce about his grandfather, Flying Tiger Ace Arthur Chin. Valentin T. Ildefonso will talk about his time as a U.S. scout veteran in the Philippines. Rudy Panaglima, a Filipino guerilla veteran, will share stories about his experience as a 13-year-old runner with the Philippine guerilla resistance.
Poet Vince Gotera will perform a dramatic reading from his book “Ghost Wars,” and the Library of Congress Chorale will perform favorite songs of the era.
Several members of Congress will be in attendance to recognize the veterans, including Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.).
During the program, the archival papers of Midshipman Cayetano Catura, a veteran who served two admirals during WWII, will be presented to the Library’s Veterans History Project, and materials donated to the Library by the Flying Tigers Museum will be on view. Also on display will be original watercolors depicting WWII pilots (donated to the Chinese Section of the Asian Division in 1944) and a binder with the original Gung Ho Newsletters mimeographed for the members of the enlisted personnel of the 407th Service Squadron Regiment of Chinese American soldiers.
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The Veterans History Project was created in 2000 by Congress to record, preserve, and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Approximately 65,000 individual stories comprise the collection to date. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteer interviewers may request information at firstname.lastname@example.org or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.