Filipino villagers welcome upcoming return of church bells seized by US troops
BALANGIGA, Philippines — Residents of a seaside village on the island of Samar are getting ready to celebrate the return of three church bells seized by U.S. troops as war trophies more than a century ago after their comrades were massacred by local “insurrectos.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in August he’d seek to return the “Balangiga bells” held by the United States — two in Cheyenne, Wyo., and one at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea — to the Philippines. A Philippine government official said recently they would be handed back before Christmas.
In Balangiga, where the bells last rang in 1902, people will be happy when the bells come home, retired teacher and local historian Alicia Valdenor said late last month as she sat at the base of the tower where the bells will hang.
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