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October 16, 2019

Barrasso Opposes Nominee Who Supported Dismantling Bells of Balangiga Veteran Memorial

“There is nothing more important for a nation than to honor and remember those who died in service to their country. Mr. Kim’s support for dismantling the Bells of Balangiga memorial is contrary to that commitment and he failed to meet the standard expected of him.”

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) outlined his opposition to the nomination of Sung Kim to be the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia at a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations nominations hearing.

Barrasso raised concerns about Kim’s involvement in and support for returning the Bells of Balanagiga from Wyoming’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base to the Philippines while serving as the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines at the time.

Senator Barrasso’s Remarks:

“I want to take this opportunity to raise my concerns with the nomination of Sung Kim to be the US ambassador to Indonesia.

“In 2017, we learned through press reports that the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Ambassador Kim, pledged to the Philippines government to move the Bells of Balangiga from Wyoming’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base to the Philippines.

“I joined Wyoming veterans in strongly opposing the efforts of Ambassador Kim.

“Despite the opposition of our veterans and legislation passed to protect the veteran memorials, Ambassador Kim believed it was the ‘right thing to do’ to ‘return the bells soon.’

“The Bells of Balangiga were not just some bells indiscriminately taken during the Philippine Insurrection.

“These bells were part of a veteran memorial located in Wyoming that paid tribute to the massacre of C Company, 9th Infantry.

“The Bells of Balangiga were used by the Filipino insurgents to signal the attack on American soldiers while they were asleep.

“In all, 48 of the 75 U.S. soldiers were killed during the attack.

“To honor the soldiers of C Company, these bells were legally brought to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be placed at Fort D.A. Russell, which is now F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

“A veteran memorial was erected displaying these bells as a way to recognize the troops who bravely fought for our nation and never came home.

“Mr. Kim’s support for moving the bells to the Philippines resulted in tearing down a veteran memorial.

“In Wyoming, we have a strong tradition of never forgetting the sacrifices of our brave men and women.

“Dismantling this veteran memorial was completely unacceptable. It also sets a dangerous precedent for future veteran and war memorials.

“Mr. Kim’s support and involvement helped establish a bad precedent for the future.

“There is nothing more important for a nation than to honor and remember those who died in service to their country.

“Mr. Kim’s support for dismantling the Bells of Balangiga memorial is contrary to that commitment and he failed to meet the standard expected of him.”

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