World War II memorial dedicated in Rizal Park

On February 4, three local Filipino-American World War II veterans, Mariano Berona, Rosendo Luna, and Gene del Rosario, were honored at the dedication of a monument in Dr. Jose Rizal Park to honor the Filipino defenders of Bataan and Corregidor during World War II. February 4 was selected for the dedication because it is the anniversary of the date in 1945 when General Douglas MacArthur liberated Manila.

The Bataan and Corregidor Survivors Association proposed and sponsored the memorial placed within the park. At one point, it seemed that the memorial would not be able to happen, due to a city policy that prohibits memorials within city parks. Local writer Craig Thompson described the struggle in a recent column, quoting project leader Larry Cambronero: “‘…It dawned on me, I have no other choice but to press on. Perseverance and persistence were the two most valuable words taught to me by my grandfather, Robert [Rufino Cambronero, a Bataan survivor].'” The city eventually agreed to allow the monument.

Dr. Jose Rizal Park has also previously been the site of the Bataan and Corregidor Survivors Association’s yearly picnic. The park was dedicated in 1979, and is named after Dr. Jose Rizal, a Filipino patriot and reformer who was executed by the Spanish after he was accused of involvement in the 1896 Filipino insurrection.

See also a lovely write-up in the Seattle Times about Saturday’s dedication.