VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Filipinos who served in the U.S. Navy are being honored with a new state historical highway marker in Virginia Beach.
Members of the Philippine Cultural Center (PCC) and The Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater, Inc. (CUFOT) worked through the week to prepare the venue for Saturday's grand unveiling.
"We consider it an honor not just for the Navy sailors, but also the military in general," PCC First Vice Chairman Dr. Arlene Fontanares told 13News Now reporter Angelique Arintok earlier in the week.
Leaders like Fontanares believe the marker will honor all Filipino veterans, as well as the sacrifices of their family members.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D, VA-02) was on-hand for Saturday's ceremony.
"Hampton Roads would not be what it is without the rich history and vibrant culture of the Navy and our Filipino community, and it was a great day to come together and celebrate these two institutions that have such an impact on our area," Luria said in a statement. "This long-awaited honor will recognize the service of countless Filipino and Filipino American men and women who have served and currently serve in the Navy. It’s my hope that this historical marker will serve as an inspiration for the next generations of Filipino American sailors."
The highway marker is located at the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia at 4857 Baxter Road in Virginia Beach.
The historical marker's unveiling comes during Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and also follows the announcement that a future destroyer will be named the USS Telesforo Trinidad in honor of a Filipino sailor who rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than a century ago.
Trinidad is the first and only Filipino American to receive the Medal of Honor.