This is a long one, but I am sharing with you this view from Peter Field, an American residing in Cebu and who said he is an American veteran (not from World War II). It’s good reading and enlightening, and it gives us a glimpse of the feelings of our ordinary brother Americans:
I am an American and, as such, is a guest in the Philippines. I have NO right to say anything about the politics here. I feel honored and privileged that I am permitted to live in the Philippines, as I love the Filipino people and am fascinated by the culture. To the people of the Philippines, a heartfelt thank you!
Being a regular reader of Sun.Star in Cebu I have seen columns written by a Mr. Wenceslao wherein he refers to World War II as the “Japanese-American War” and that Filipinos were fighting for the US. He seems to be a young man and perhaps did not read history books related to the war.
World War II was NOT a “Japanese-American War”! Courageous Filipinos served alongside Americans in the Philippines to fight the Japanese, not just to defend America but to free the Philippines from tyrannical occupation after the Japanese invaded the Philippines.
Mr. Wenceslao should look closely at the waters of “Red Beach” in Leyte and he would see that Filipino blood is mixed with American blood. Yes, Filipinos fought under the American flag in the Philippines during Eorld War II but right next to them were thousands of Americans who also shed their blood to help them free their country.
He never relates the atrocities committed against the Filipino people during that occupation. But, he should talk to the Filipinos that were alive at that time and read history books, or perhaps visit a few memorials in the Philippines that show the common sacrifices that Americans and proud Filipinos made.
A direct comparison would be the Americans fighting in France, with French resistance forces fighting under the American flag against Germany. When the war was over, a contingent of American forces remained to assist France in it’s rebuilding efforts–at great expense to the US.
The same situation existed in the Philippines. Under agreement with the Philippine Government, the US established fixed installations at Clark, Olongapo, and in Baguio. This was NOT done as an occupying force, but for mutual defense: to assist the Philippines in the face of a new threat. When the Philippine Government asked the US to leave, it did.
Yes, the Americans were at one time a colonial power. That was during our “formative years” and, like a growing child, the US has matured and is no longer interested in occupying foreign lands. Perhaps he should read the book “In Our Image,” which provides extensive information and a fair evaluation on historical facts of the American occupation of the Philippines.
The American people would be outraged if our government were to try to be a colonial power in modern times.
There is a special bond between the American people and the Filipino people. It goes beyond politics or finances. As an American living in the Philippines, I can honestly say that even I do not fully understand it, but I guarantee you it is there.
In my opinion, the compensation due to the Filipino soldiers that fought alongside the Americans to free the Philippines in World War II is long overdue and I am pleased that our new President has taken an active role in securing resolution to the issue.
I am a disabled vet and as such can fully empathize with the Filipino veterans in their ongoing struggle to receive their rightful compensation. As an American veteran, it took me 35 years to accomplish a similar goal. So the Filipino veterans were never alone in their quest.
The ties between the Filipino people remain close and strong regardless of the actions or positions of either government. Look closely, Mr. Wenceslao, at the color of our blood. As an American to a Filipino, I will gladly shed it to defend your right to speak your mind whether you may agree with me or not.