Star of David Now Marks Graves in Philippines of Fallen World War II US Jewish Soldiers
Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, the graves of five US Jewish soldiers who died fighting in the Philippines have finally been marked with a Star of David.
Originally marked with Latin cross headstones, the Star of David headstones were placed on the five graves at a special ceremony on Wednesday in the capital, Manila.
Sung Kim — the US ambassador in the Philippines — tweeted that the ceremony had honored “five Jewish American soldiers who committed the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we all enjoy today.”
Coordinated by the American Battle Monuments Commission and Operation Benjamin, a non-profit organization that commemorates American Jewish servicemen in World War II, the Jewish kaddish memorial prayer were recited at the graves of the five soldiers, one of whom — Pvt. Allan C. Franken — was just 20 years old when he was killed.
“We wanted to bring truth to the historical record,” Operation Benjamin founder Shalom Lamm told Fox News.
Said Lamm: “Amid a time of rising antisemitism, it is important that when someone visits the cemetery that they see the physical manifestation of the Jewish men who bled and fought and died for the United States. The symbolism is important; these were people who were born as Jews, lived as Jews, and died as Jews. That heritage was important to them and their families.”
Honored to join @USABMC Manila American Cemetery, through its partnership with Operation Benjamin, in placing the Star of David on the burial sites of five Jewish American soldiers who committed the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we all enjoy today. pic.twitter.com/9eYZTr34dP
— Ambassador Sung Kim (@USAmbManila) February 12, 2020
More than just a change of headstone, this gesture shows what caring for our fallen heroes means to us: making sure that their legacy and their history are told, in the most accurate and reflective way. @USEmbassyPH #WWII #history pic.twitter.com/BpTEwUDuVq
— ABMC (@usabmc) February 12, 2020