A Poem for Veterans' Day: "From a Filipino Death March Survivor Whose World War II Benefits Were Rescinded by the US Congress in 1946," by Bino A. Realuyo
[caption id="attachment_4724" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Bino A. Realuyo, The Gods We Worship Live Next Door (The University of Utah Press)"][/caption] http://www.pifmagazine.com/2006/03/from-a-filipinodeath-march-survivor/
From a Filipino Death March Survivor Whose World War II Benefits Were Rescinded by the U.S. Congress in 1946, by Bino A. Realuyo
In Memoriam, Augusto Roa Realuyo, 1921-2003
- I left three years ago.
- If you want to know about my rural childhood, ask my survivors.
- If you want to know how I was recruited into the United States army at twenty, ask President Roosevelt.
- If you want to know how I ended up in the Death March at twenty-one, ask General MacArthur.
- If you want to know how many of my friends perished in the Japanese concentration camps, ask General Homma.
- If you want to know how I contracted malaria, beri-beri, dysentery, skin disease, gastrointestinal disease in one month, ask the Japanese Camp Commander.
- If you want to know how my military benefits were rescinded at the end of the war, ask President Truman.
- If you want to know how I became a 100% disabled veteran, ask my V.A. doctors.
- If you want to know how I got burial benefits, ask President Clinton.
- If you want to know why I wasn’t buried in Arlington, ask Judge Owen.
- If you want to know how I died without seeing the Rescission Act of 1946 repealed, ask me again.
- Then again.
- I’ve been asking myself the same question for sixty years.
- I don’t know why, really.
- I don’t know why Filipinos have ignored it for so long.
- I don’t know why Americans don’t know this happened.
- I don’t want to think about this anymore.
- 46 . . .
- 06. Sixty years. I couldn’t wait anymore.
In 1946, at the end of the war, the U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 that denied Filipino veterans war-time benefits. To this day, Filipino World War II veterans, now in their twilight years, continue to fight for their dignity and the benefits owed to them.