‘A Long March’ documentary bares the forgotten history of Fil-Am WWII veterans
In “A Long March,” director Tammy Botkin from Denver explores the forgotten history of Filipino-American veterans who served alongside US troops during World War II.
The documentary highlights the struggles of these veterans, emphasizing the unacknowledged sacrifices and the broken promises they faced upon returning home.
During an interview with CBS News Colorado, Botkin and Mike Simbre, a representative associated with the Filipino Veterans Recognition Act, provided valuable insights into its historical context.
“My aunt passed away, and I was helping my uncle go through the estate, and we cracked open this crate, and it was full of paintings from 1944 that were depictions of the Bataan Death March Prisoners of War camps,” says Botkin about the inspiration behind the documentary. This discovery prompted a journey into history, collaborating with Simbre and unveiling a hidden chapter in American history.
“It’s important for us to understand our full history and who we are because we have ideas of who we are currently, and they’re being challenged, and part of that is because we don’t know all of our history.”
But while knowing history is important, it’s just as crucial to make amends where we can, adds Botkin.. “This is another place where we find our identities as Americans, truly upholding our values so when we discover these kinds of histories, to turn them around as much as we can.”
In their pursuit of justice, Simbre reveals, “At that moment we had just started trying to rescind the Rescission Act. It’s in its infancy stages right now.”
Despite the challenges, their efforts involve legal strategies and awareness, as demonstrated by a recent meeting with the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project.
The emotional impact on veterans is profound, as Botkin shares, “What has been most amazing is the conciliatory spirit that I find that these veterans have.”
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As the documentary “A Long March” unfolds, it serves not only as a historical record but also as a call to rectify the erasure of Filipino-American veterans’ contributions to the nation.