By Abner Galino
On Christmas Eve, Weekend Balita/US Asian Post went to the “decorating places” around the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena where some of the floats for the 2017 Rose Parade were being built. Well, that was not a very smart idea. We didn’t get the memo that has been posted everywhere all along: Christmas Eve.
It turned out that we were two days ahead of the official start of floats decorating activities in that place. So, except for a couple of security people manning the “decorating places and expo village,” there were no volunteers available for the intended interviews.
But the jaunt was not entirely useless. We got fortunate to get a sneak peek into probably one of the biggest floats that would join the 92 floats, marching bands, equestrian units that will form part of the 128th Rose Parade.
Photography was not allowed inside the working area so we had to take our shots from the roadside. And the shots were taken just in time as a towering replica of a young, eyeglasses-wearing giraffe was being lowered, apparently so it could fit inside the tent where the volunteers would later continue building it on Tuesday (December 27).
By the way, the Filipino-American community has something to look forward to in the 2017 Rose Parade, particularly the first-ever inclusion of the U.S Army’s 26th Cavalry Regiment, otherwise known as the Philippine Scouts. The riders are current or retired military or descendants of the original group of veterans. There will be American quarter horses and Arabians. The scouts will be wearing World War II-style U.S. cavalry uniforms which are khaki-colored riding breeches and green campaign hats.
Philippines became an American protectorate after the Spanish-American War. The Philippine Scouts was formed in under the leadership of American military officers. They fought fiercely and bravely during enemy occupation in World War II.
In a press statement recently to Weekend Balita/US Asian Post, the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, through its membership chair Gil Mislang, said: “This will be the first time that a historical Filipino and American U.S. Army Unit, the Philippine Scouts, will be featured and this unique World War II Unit will be represented in the parade by the Los Angeles-based living history group named the 26th Cavalry CMU comprised of equestrians residing in California.”
On April 5, 1989, former Philippine Scout officers John Olson, Lloyd Mills and General Royal Reynolds and Rhode Island State Senator John Patterson, nephew of a deceased Scout, founded the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society. The Society’s mission is to help preserve the history and legacy of those outstanding soldiers.
“The Philippine Scouts Cavalry and its affiliate, the Lt. Alexander Nininger Living History Company (LHC), fit right into this year’s Tournament of Roses theme ‘Echoes of Success.’ They represent military units of ‘America’s Greatest Generation’ and the success they had in defeating the problems and tribulations of their time,” the organization added.
The Philippine Scouts will also participate in the Equestfest on December 29 at the L.A. Equestrian Center in Burbank.
At Equestfest, the 26th Cavalry CMU and Lt. Alexander Nininger LHC will be dressed in vintage World War II period U.S. Army Philippine Scouts Cavalry and Infantry uniforms and field gear; and the horses will be adorned in WW II period style horse tack, saddles, stirrups, saddle bags, blanket and bed rolls.
“The Living History Units will also exhibit Philippine Scouts history through uniformed living historians and display period artifacts of field equipment, medals, uniforms, memorabilia weaponry, posters, pictures and books on the subject of the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts,” Mislang disclosed.
As a special feature, several descendants of World War II Filipino 26th Cavalry Troopers will present first hand experiences of their surviving relatives who were on the front lines in battles in Pangasinan, Pampanga and Bataan.
The exhibits will also feature books from various writers about the Philippine Scouts, with several of them giving an account of the “last organized charge of a U.S. Cavalry unit against an enemy.” The battle was led by Lt. Edwin Ramsey a decorated war hero who lived in Los Angeles.