U.S. presents Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines

Jose Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Maj. Gen. Fred Stoss, 20th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Good, 20th Air Force command chief, greet Defense Secetary James N. Mattis plane side Nov. 14, at Cheyenne Regional Airport. During the Defense Secretary's visit to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, the Bells of Balangiga were officially presented to the Philippine government. Photo by Airman 1st Class Abbigayle Wagner

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Nov. 14, during which the Bells of Balangiga were officially presented to the Philippine government.

During the visit, the Secretary attended a veterans remembrance event and provided remarks on the presentation of the bells during an official ceremony.

 In 1901 the Bells of Balangiga were used during an attack on an American garrison where 45 soldiers were killed. The 11th Infantry Division returned to America with the bells. Since 1904 the bells have been housed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and in 1992 they became property of the U.S. Air Force Museum System.

“To those who fear we lose something by returning the bells please hear me when I say the bells mark time, but courage is timeless,” said Mattis. “It does not fade in history’s dimly lit corridors nor is it forgotten in history’s compost.”

Presenting the bells supports our nation’s continued partnership with the Philippines.

“History teaches us that nations with allies thrive,” said Mattis. “It reminds us too that all wars end. By returning the Bells of Balangiga to our ally and our friend the Philippines we pick up our generation’s responsibility to deepen the respect between our people.”

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