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25/08/2009: Photo Exhibit on Filipino World War II Veterans Marks Commemoration of National Heroes’ Day at Philippine Embassy

25 AUGUST 2009 WASHINGTON DC –The Embassy of the Philippines here marks National Heroes’ Day with a week-long photo exhibit on Filipino World War II Veterans that “underscores the sacrifices of Filipino soldiers in defense of freedom.”

Undertaken in partnership with the Camera Club of the Philippines of Manila, the FotoSeven Group of California, and the host organization, SINAG | American Society of Philippine Photographers of Metro New York, the photo exhibit “Sonata Our Heroes: Unsung Filipino Veterans of WW II” will feature present-day photos of Filipino veterans as well as historical materials on the situation in the Pacific prior to December 1941 and during World War II.

The Exhibit will likewise feature a first person account of the infamous Bataan Death March by the late veteran Victor Arcega Ruff.

In a statement, Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa said “Through this exhibit, we remember the great sacrifice made so that our nation can live in freedom.  Through this exhibit too, we reaffirm our pledge to never forget the lessons of war that has claimed so many lives.”

"I invite everyone to be part of the exhibit and to share in the experience the photos and the encounter with our veterans," added Ambassador Gaa in the statement.

Conceived as a traveling photo exhibit, “Sonata for Our Heroes” was first presented at the Philippine Consulate General, New York in June.

Exhibit director René Ner and co-director Robert Pérez De Tagle said the photo exhibit pays homage to the legacy of Filipino World War II veterans, noting the broad support from photography stakeholders for the exhibit.

Ner and Perez de Tagle described Sonata as “the only multi-regional collaboration of photographers located in the Philippines, New York, New Jersey, and California, working with Fil-Vets or families of veterans in those areas and now in DC,” stressed Ner and Perez de Tagle.

Several Filipino veterans have been invited to join the Exhibit as special guests: Alfredo Diaz, Jose Genito, Jose Red,  Pablo Barros, Nicomedes Casino, Espiridion Villanueva, Jr. and Walter Cassingal of New Jersey/New York; the first Filipino veteran to receive a lump-sum check, Mr. Alberto Bacani, and others from Metro DC, such as Celestino Almeda, Guillermo Rumingan, Angelico Tugado, Potenciano Dy and Prudencio Damasco.

The exhibit which runs from August 27 to September 4 at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall of the Embassy of the Philippines, is supported by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), NJ Chapter, led by its President Nestor Enriquez. END.

Ambassador Gaa Opens Photo Exhibit on Filipino World War II Veterans

27 AUGUST 2009 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa (second from left) leads the ribbon cutting ceremony launching “Sonata for Our Heroes: Unsung Filipino Veterans of World War II,” a week-long photo exhibit dedicated to Filipino World War II Veterans, in commemoration of National Heroes’ Day on 31 August 2009.

In his remarks, Ambassador Gaa encouraged people to reflect on the inspiring stories of our veterans by stating, “A sonata is by definition, an instrumental musical composition, intended for a piano solo, in three or four movements that vary in tempo and key...The sonata, I believe, best reflects the trials and triumphs of our heroes through these years.  As we look upon the images presented to us, let us open our eyes and ears to the stories that they tell. The images will move us and make us listen to the music within us – that individual music that is a part of the compelling narrative of our people’s heroism.”

Ambassador Gaa is joined by (L-R) co-exhibit director Robert de Tagle, Filipino veterans Alfredo Diaz and Nick Casino and his wife Mrs. Erlinda Gaa.  The photo exhibit will run until 04 September 2009.END