Filipino World War II Veteran Venancio Espinosa received a Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony at the Bayanihan Equity Center in San Francisco. | Contributed photo

Filipino World War II Veteran Venancio Espinosa recently received a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, during a private ceremony in San Francisco.

The presentation ceremony for the 93-year-old veteran was organized by the Bayanihan Equity Center (BEC), a non-profit organization originally founded in 1999 as the Veterans Equity Center, and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP).

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award bestowed by the United States Congress to express national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act (Public Law 114-265). Over 260,000 Filipino Veterans of World War II were collectively awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal on October 25, 2017.

At 19 years old, Espinosa responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty, and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II. Private First Class (PFC) Espinosa valiantly served in the Infantry Regiment of the United States Army for three years as an Infantryman and Administrative Technician Supervisor.

On the third anniversary of the first Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony held in Washington, D.C., and on Filipino American History Month (FAHM), PFC Espinosa was presented by COL (Ret) Don Bautista with a bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal in a private award ceremony.

“We are delighted to present the Congressional Gold Medal to Mr. Espinosa to express our gratitude for his valor and the sacrifice he made in defense of the Philippines and the United States during the Second World War,” said BEC Executive Director Luisa M. Antonio and California Regional Director of the FilVetREP. (AJPress)

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