Epilogue: July 4, 1946
1898-1946: The Last American Flag is Lowered
The fall of Japanese occupation allowed the legacy of the Philippine-American relations to rise in the ashes of their victory. The coming promise of Philippine Independence rode the wave of international triumph and epitomized characteristics of American democracy. The day of Philippine Independence, The New York Times published the article "The Philippine Republic," that argued the Filipinos embrace of celebrating their independence on the same day as American independence sets an international precedent in colonial policy. The article states, "It is the consummation of a bloodless revolution in colonial policy such as the world has not seen before." World War II allowed this statement of a "bloodless revolution," yet distorts the reality of a shared past.
The transformation of the Filipino into a noble soldier exhibits the impact events of World War II had on Filipino-American relations. A Filipino community leader of San Jose argued, “The most significant part of Filipino-American history is the year of 1941-1946, because before the year 1941, we had the status of being a brown monkey. After 1946, we were the citizens of the year and the heroes of the world. Before and after—that was a cause and effect.” The legacy of World War II as the “good war” plays out in the experience of the Filipino soldier and explains the populations’ shift to worthy of independence from mongrel race. How we remember these interactions and understand the role of Filipino veterans and immigrants before and during World War II uncovers further complications in the history of our nations’ shared past.
The global conflict of World War II devastated countrysides, human life, and the expectations of modern war. Allied and axis forces employed methods of death as supplies ran low for both civilian and soldier populations. The combatant and the innocent bystander experienced equality in risk in what became known as “The Good War.” World War II emerges in the American national memory as a just war; yet the selection of historical events employed to support this narrative is incomplete. It lacks a consistency in narratives existing prior to this global conflict. Remembering the foundations of the Philippine-American historical narrative provides authenticity to the lessons of peace and war.