On May 28, the Filipino American veterans from Yakima Valley met at the Filipino Community Hall in Wapato to record their first-hand experiences in Viet Nam as part of Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Yakama Chapter 26 Oral History Project in collaboration with FANHS Greater Seattle Chapter and FANHS National, both based in Seattle.
“Filipino American war veterans were silent for many years but were now ready to share their war-time experiences through the Oral History Project,” FANHS said in a statement.
Beverly Inay Krous, whose brother, Christopher Inay, died while serving in Viet Nam and is a Purple Heart recipient, participated in the project. Beverly spoke of when her family and the community heard the news of her brother’s death and their reactions and responses. Participants also included: Vince Visaya, Sammy Miranda, Larry Umipig, David Ventura, Ted Divina, Mike Antonio and Pete Sotelo.
Vince Visaya, Oral History Project Coordinator for the FANHS Yakama Chapter, worked closely with Cathy Bryant, John Ragudas, and Ben Presas from the Greater Seattle FANHS chapter in conjunction with Dr. Dorothy Cordova and FANHS National in this statewide collaborative effort. Visaya spoke about the link to patriotism and military service and displayed a WWII veterans’ photo taken from the 1952 Filipino Community Hall Dedication Program; their fathers and uncles were in this photo.
The Yakama Chapter’s 26 members have started a list of Filipino-American veterans who served in Vietnam; these veterans will be invited to record their first-hand experiences in future OHP sessions.
FANHS said the historical significance of this project is that Yakima Valley has the highest number of servicemen serving in Vietnam who died, the highest fatality rate per population in the nation.