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Aug 19th
Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Crisanto Antonio, a Filipino-American Veteran, Fades Away
Crisanto Antonio, a Filipino-American Veteran, Fades Away PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Obituary-Memorial Park
Monday, 26 November 2007 05:47

Crisanto Antonio celebrated his last Veterans Day this year. The WWII veteran passed away on Nov. 18, 2007, in Jersey City. The Philippine-American Veterans Organization (PAVO) was minus one. He was among the estimated 18-thousand survivors of the Great War and a third of them now live in the United States.


Surviving Crisanto are his wife, Labina (Fausto); two sons, Lacrisante and Gladyner; three daughters, Cristela Catacutan, Marlene De La Paz and Lilibeth Raposas; a brother, Pacifico; four sisters, Marcelina Bareng, Adelina, Conchita Llacuna and Priscilla Fabian; and nine grandchildren.

Barely surviving is the Equity Bill in the US Congress. It is too late for Crisanto. His fellow comrades were at his memorial service at the Marshello Funeral Home, Jersey City, on Nov. 22nd. Hopefully, the US Congress will approve the bill after this Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving Holiday was suspended by the invading Japanese military in the Philippines when these veterans were fighting for the United States. July 4 was obviously the other holiday the Japanese Imperial Army did not like. The Liberation marked the Victory on Sept. 2, 1945, and the return of the tradition, an American original. It stayed an official holiday in the Philippines for few more years even after the Americans left. I left the Philippines by ship half century ago and crossed the International Dateline. It was my last Thanksgiving before crossing the imaginary dateline only to find out that when I woke up the next day it was Thanksgiving again.

They fought against the Japanese, so I could say, Happy Turkey Day Everyone

Crisanto’s daughter-in-law delivered a moving eulogy. Just few months ago, on the week of this year’s Philippine Fiesta at the Meadowlands, she kind of made a rehearsal of a eulogy that she delivered for her godson, Paolo Marko Pacificador, at the Calverton Memorial Park, the Arlington of New York. Paolo died of IED fighting for the United States in another front, the war in Iraq that is still raging on. It was probably of the same kind of IED that blew out at the Batasang Building in Manila. In a just short span it must have been very emotional draining time for her. It is not something she lacks. The soldiers were two generations apart but the estimated surviving 18-thousand WWII veterans is probably the same number of Filipino who are still serving in the US Armed Forces today. Our contribution should be recognized by passing the Equity Bill. Labina Antonio prayed last night and would continue fighting for the passage of the bill. It was her way of thanking the veterans who attended the service. It is the Filipino WWII final battle. Doing nothing would mean the US Congress would wait for the last Filipino USAFEE veteran to fall on the wayside. Lack of funding and war on attrition are what we hear.

Another old soldier has fallen; Crisanto means the flower Chrysanthemum, the flower drum song of his nemesis. Ironically the famous marking of Japanese WWII rifles was a chrysanthemum with 16 petals. It wasn't meant to be Crisanto. The bushido code requires that the stamped rifle – signifying that it belonged to the Emperor – must have the flower design be grinded-out and a face-saving gesture before a Japanese soldier surrenders. Those who had not seen it would simply call it “Pikpok” because of its firing sound. It missed Crisanto a few times but that was all the WWII veterans would remember. The spirit of Veterans Day still lingers, let me end this obituary with a famous “flower” war poem.

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved,

and now we lie In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep,

Though poppies grow In Flanders' fields.

Editor’s Note: The author, Nestor Palugod Enriquez, has his own web site, Please visit it and read his “Coming to America.”



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Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2007 13:44

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