After 117 years....the Balangiga Bells are home

After 117 years....the Balangiga Bells are home




December 11, 2018 is the exact date of the return of the Balangiga bells to its home soil.

Its home after 117 years being considered as a war booty.

Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the war artifact will arrive at Villamor Airbase.

(photo credit to Manila Tribune)


"I will go around with Ambassador Sung Kim, we will look at the bells, then I will sign documents that I am accepting the bells from them," Lorenzana  said.

The Defense chief said the bell’s return to its homeland will serve as a closure to the dark episode in the US-PH relations.

ConCept News Central November 15 editorial hits the spot in its explanation on the significance of the Balangiga bells on both the US and Philippine side.

Two wounds will heal with the return of two of three bells from Balangiga.
But today, a ceremony will heal all pains that great war — an anomaly in history like all wars are, no matter how small in significance — had caused.
Two countries, long allies and have fought together in the last of the great wars, offer handshakes with the return of the Balangiga Bells.
Two wounds will heal. A bad chapter in history will close.

Below is the full quote of Concept News Central editorial:


Bells of pride


Two wounds will heal with the return of two of three bells from Balangiga.
For the Philippines, the bells continue to toll the country’s resistance to foreign rule even long after the three great wars we have won and lost.
No other country had attempted to conquer our islands since World War II, the last great war our grandparents have fought. But we, Filipinos, are always ready for our motherland’s defense. Even if we lose, much more if we will win.
For the United States, it has moved on since losing 48 members of its 9th Infantry to the sharp bolos of the Samar men who disguised themselves in the traditional baro’t saya of their women and came out armed from the dawn Mass that never was but the hush of simple prayers for their Catholic, nay Hispanic-named God and saints, to save their lives before they launched their attack.
It was the US Army’s worst defeat since the Battle of the Little Big Horn 25 years before. But this one was lost because of the locals’ stealth.
As a result, all three Balangiga bells were taken by the US Army 11th Infantry Regiment which quelled the Philippine insurrection from 1901–1903.
It was tasked to put down the Moro Rebellion which was achieved with record engagements against the Moros of Mindanao and the Filipinos of the Visayas. But it stops in Balangiga, after four members of the 9th Infantry survived the Samareno attack and escaped on foot to Leyte, was gory and bloody and grim.
The 11th Infantry brought two of the bells to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming which used to be its main base.
The other bell stayed in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment at their base in Camp Red Cloud, South Korea.
What made possible its flight with the three Balangiga Bells the clinical approach with which soldiers of the 11th Infantry implemented the orders of Brig. Gen. Jacob Smith to its leader, Maj. Littleton Waller, to kill each men of Balangiga who is old enough to carry to a bolo.
Even children as young as 10 years old were killed in the massacre.
While the 9th Infantry has records of its soldiers killed in the attack by Filipinos on its camp in Balangiga, Filipinos had no way to recall their forefathers who gave their lives for the two women molested by the American soldiers in a drunken fit and the country they have learned to love soon after the Americans left them with three major islands previously detached with each other under the Spanish colonial rule.
The bells were taken with nobody shedding a tear. There was nothing left in the eye ducts of the Balangiga women to afford even a quiet sobbing.
There were no goodbyes, no sendoffs.
But they did not forget the massacre of their men. They did not forget the pride taken from them by their new colonial rulers.
The Balangiga Bells have been sources of sour discussions between the two countries since.

Efforts by war veterans and historians have met mixed results when they demanded their return to the Philippines.
But on11 August, the US Embassy in Manila announced the return of two of the bells to Manila.
It was a development welcomed by Malacañang but to which President Duterte gave the lukewarm response of: “I will believe it when the bells are finally here.”
The Chief Executive has reasons to be cool over the offer.
He had raised the Balangiga Bells issue, along with the painful reminder of the Bud Dajo massacre by American soldiers in Jolo, when he declared himself as unlikely to follow the traditional path of governance anchored on and relying mostly on US support.
But today, a ceremony will heal all pains that great war — an anomaly in history like all wars are, no matter how small in significance — had caused.
Two countries, long allies and have fought together in the last of the great wars, offer handshakes with the return of the Balangiga Bells.
Two wounds will heal. A bad chapter in history will close.

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Report from PNA , Tribune

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