Lingayen- - -The provincial government will once again pay tribute to Pangasinan’s unsung heroes of World War II through the celebration of the 70th Lingayen Gulf Landings Anniversary and 8thPangasinan Veterans’ Day on January 9.
Part I of the celebration will start with a thanksgiving mass at 7 o’clock in the morning at the Veterans’ Memorial Park located at the back of the Capitol building here.
The second part which is the wreath laying ceremony will follow at 8:15 AM with Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. spearheading the activity with some invited guests to include National Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin; Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, Deputy Commanding General of US Army Pacific; Col. Bruce Murray, Defense Attache-Australian Embassy to the Philippines; and Maj. Gen. Raul Z. Caballes, Deputy Administrator-Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
After the wreath laying ceremony, the commemorative program immediately follows.
A commemorative program will follow to include the testimonial to the veterans by Gov. Espino and messages to be delivered by Sec. Gazmin, the guest of honor and speaker, Col. Murray and Maj. Gen. Pasquarette.
All World War II veterans who will attend the program will also be awarded with the medallion of valor during the program.
Another highlight of the celebration is the formal turn-over of the 70-ship miniature replica of the US Navy Fleet landing at the Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945.
The miniature ship collection to be donated by Retired US Navy Weatherman Russel Leon Sandlin to the province will be exhibited at the venue to provide the people a vivid and glimpse of the historic past.
Sandlin, whose grandfather and uncle were part of the troops who landed in Leyte and Lingayen, first showcased his collection at the anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landing last year.
An added treat to the veterans is the conduct of free medical mission right after the commemorative lunch.
It can be recalled that the Espino administration has included the medical mission activity as a traditional activity to provide free medical check-ups and medicines for all Pangasinan veterans and their kin, as well./RRB/ELS