Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0288
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Full Text of HR0288  95th General Assembly



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2     WHEREAS, The American GI Forum was charted by Congress
3 because of the inequities and discrimination inflicted upon
4 returning Mexican-American Veterans after their distinguished
5 service in World War II, and its primary purpose is to serve
6 Hispanic and Latino Veterans and their families; and
7     WHEREAS, Hispanic and Latino Americans, as members of the
8 Armed Forces of the United States, served with valor and
9 distinction during World War II, fighting and dying for the
10 principles of equality, justice, and freedom for all; and
11     WHEREAS, Hispanic and Latino Americans during World War II
12 were the most decorated minority group to receive this
13 country's highest award, The Congressional Medal of Honor; and
14     WHEREAS, Hispanic and Latino Americans, as an ethnic group,
15 made tremendous and significant contributions during World War
16 II, including the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery
17 (Anti-aircraft) battalions stationed at Clark Field in the
18 Philippines, 65 miles west of Manila; and
19     WHEREAS, These National Guard units were largely made up of
20 Mexican-American officers and enlisted personnel from New
21 Mexico, Arizona, and Texas and were activated and dispatched in
22 1940 while America was still at peace; and



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1     WHEREAS, Within days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the
2 Japanese Imperial Navy attacked American positions in the
3 Philippines; outnumbered and desperate, General Douglas
4 MacArthur moved his forces, including the 200th and 515th, to
5 the Bataan Peninsula west of Manila; fighting alongside their
6 Filipino comrades, the National Guard units made a heroic
7 three-month stand against the large, well-equipped invading
8 forces; as the weeks passed, rations, medical supplies, and
9 ammunition diminished and became scarce; on April 9, 1942,
10 starving and greatly outnumbered, most of the surviving troops
11 were ordered to surrender; and
12     WHEREAS, After their capture, the American and Filipino
13 soldiers had to endure the 12-day, 85-mile "Death March" from
14 Bataan to the prison camps, followed by 34 months of captivity;
15 three years later, General Jonathan Wainright praised the men
16 of the 200th and 515th units, saying that "they were the first
17 to fire and the last to lay down their arms and only
18 reluctantly doing so after being given a direct order"; and
19     WHEREAS, The 158th Regimental Combat Team, an Arizona
20 National Guard unit comprised of many Hispanic soldiers, saw
21 heavy combat in the Pacific Theater and earned the respect of
22 General MacArthur, who referred to them as "the greatest
23 fighting combat team ever deployed for battle"; and



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1     WHEREAS, Company E of the 141st Regiment of the 36th Texas
2 Infantry Division was made up entirely of Hispanic Americans,
3 and after 361 days of combat in Italy and France, the 141st
4 Regiment sustained 1,126 killed, 5,000 wounded, and over 500
5 missing in action; in recognition of their extended service and
6 valor, the members of the 141st garnered 31 Distinguished
7 Services Crosses, 12 Legion of Merits, 492 Silver Stars, 11
8 Soldier's Medals, 1,685 Bronze Stars, as well as numerous
9 commendations and decorations; and
10     WHEREAS, From 1940 to 1946, more than 65,000 Puerto Ricans
11 served in the American military, most of them going overseas,
12 and the 295th and 296th Infantry Regiments of the Puerto Rican
13 National Guard participated in the Pacific Theater while other
14 Puerto Ricans served in Europe; and
15     WHEREAS, Twelve Hispanic soldiers received the Medal of
16 Honor for the services during World War II; and
17     WHEREAS, The Public Broadcasting Service has announced it
18 is airing the documentary series, "The War," by Ken Burns
19 beginning September, 2007, and this seven-part, 14 hour
20 documentary series explores the history and horror of World War
21 II from an American perspective, and it follows the fortunes of
22 so-called ordinary men and women who were caught up in the



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1 greatest cataclysm in recent human history; and
2     WHEREAS, This documentary exposes the racism of World War
3 II directed at African-American and Japanese-Americans;
4 however, it fails to outline the same racism as it affected
5 Hispanic and Latino Americans; and
6     WHEREAS, This documentary purports to honor the heroism of
7 all Americans, when in fact it glaringly fails to honor those
8 heroic Hispanic Americans who have earned such an honor; and
9     WHEREAS, Whether intentionally or inadvertently, the
10 contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans in World War II
11 were omitted; this oversight appears to have violated the
12 Public Broadcasting Service's own policy on Diversity;
13 therefore, be it
16 condemn this documentary for not presenting the contributions
17 of Hispanic and Latino Americans during World War II; and be it
18 further
19     RESOLVED, That the Public Broadcasting Service is urged to
20 refrain from broadcasting the documentary until this omission
21 is corrected; and be it further



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1     RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be sent
2 to the President of the United States, President of the U.S.
3 Senate, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, members
4 of the Illinois congressional delegation, national and local
5 directors of the Public Broadcasting Service, and to the
6 National Commander of the American GI Forum.