Filipino Veterans of WWII Monument dedicated at Waipahu Public Library

February 27, 2023

A dedication ceremony was held on Friday, February 24, 2023 for the “Filipino Veterans of WWII Monument” at the Waipahu Public Library.

Pictured with the maile lei are World War II veterans Art Caleda, Oscar Bangui and Faustino Garcia.
View of the monument figures adorned with lei during the dedication ceremony.
View of the Filipino Veterans of World War II monument at the Waipahu Public Library.
Two of the figures in the monument adorned with maile lei for the dedication ceremony.
A display inside the Waipahu Public Library shares more about the history of Hawaiʻi’s Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers.
Video of the dedication ceremony at the Waipahu Public Library, February 24, 2023.

About the monument

This is a commissioned work of art project set in motion by the 2017 Hawaiʻi State Legislature through HB 942, Relating to Filipino veterans, appropriating funds for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to commission a permanent monument to show Hawai‘i’s gratitude to Filipino veterans, provide a visual reminder of these Filipino veterans’ unique place in American and global history, and to educate the public on the role that minorities played in the outcome of World War II.

The story of the Filipino people of WWII has been largely forgotten in American history. For the United States, the war began on December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hours later, Japan’s brutal assault on the Philippines would result in its occupation from 1942 until liberation in 1945.

This monument honors the veterans of Filipino heritage and the civilian resistance who fought against the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines.

The bronze figures represent the fighting forces of the Philippine Constabulary, 1st Filipino Division, Filipino Scouts, Filipino Guerillas, and the 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments from Hawai‘i and the United States mainland.

This monument also honors the civilian communities who were decimated during the war. Their contributions in battle and espionage on land and water were essential to the success of the Allied Forces in the Pacific.

Media Coverage

About the Art Advisory Committee

The Art Advisory Committee of Filipino veterans and community leaders selected the artist and made recommendations. Committee members (alphabetized by last name): Amy Agbayani, Rev. Mark Awa-ao, Espie Ruga Bangui, Colonel Ronald P. Han Jr., Anita Loando-Acohido, Christine Madayag, Ricardo Trimillos, and Wilfredo Tungol. SFCA Art in Public Places Project Managers Kamakani Konia and Alexandra Skees worked with the committee.

About Artist Kelley Hestir

Kelley S. Hestir was born in Pocatello, Idaho in 1957. She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts in 1991 from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Throughout her career she exhibited work both internationally and through private commissions and has worked extensively with veteran communities. In 2001 she was selected as the sculptor for the federally funded public sculpture, “Heroes of Bataan” in Las Cruces, New Mexico which honors American and Filipino veterans of the Bataan Death March.

About the SFCA Art in Public Places Program

The SFCA’s Art in Public Places (APP) Program acquires completed, portable works of art, and commissions artists to create works of art for specific locations. Works of art are displayed in over 640 sites statewide including schools, libraries, hospitals, airports, state office buildings, the State Capitol and at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum (HiSAM). The APP Program also supports excellent arts education programming in schools during the school day, out-of-school arts education for pre-K students and lifelong learning for adults.

About the SFCA

The Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) is Hawaiʻi’s state government arts agency. Established in 1965 by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, through the vision and effort of Hawaiʻi leaders, the creation of a state arts agency made Hawaiʻi eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), newly established on September 29, 1965. The SFCA is administratively attached to the Department of Accounting and General Services and funded by the State of Hawaiʻi and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About State Arts Agencies

State arts agencies were created by legislatures and governors to promote the arts and reduce barriers to cultural participation. Every state and U.S. jurisdiction has a designated arts agency, providing grants, services, and leadership that make the arts accessible to everyone. State arts agencies are funded through appropriations from state legislatures. State arts agencies also receive 40% of the federal grant dollars Congress provides to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Learn more about state arts agencies and regional arts agencies nationwide on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies website:

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