Wauwatosa family honored with Congressional Gold Medal of Honor

Posted at 10:17 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 23:17:57-04

A Wauwatosa family was recognized at the nation's capital, awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor of Filipino World War II veterans.  

"It was amazing," said Katherin Alayon, age 10.

That's how 10-year-old Alayon, who goes by "Kat," described her late grandfather being honored.  The lone Congressional Gold Medal will be displayed at the Smithsonian.  

The medal was in honor of World War II veteran Julian Alayon, a Bataan Death March survivor. He was also a Korean War Vet.

"I got to wear a nice dress," Kat said.

The Wauwatosa family received a bronze replica at a gala, where they brushed shoulders with generals, politicians and entertainers.  Kat had the right attitude.

"I just imagined I was just as important as them," Kat said.

Her time at the nation's capital was more than glitz and glamour.

"It was super important for me because he's family and well even though I didn't get to meet him he's like there with me," Kat said.

Julian's son Edel Alayon, who's retired from the Navy, said it was an emotional time.  A recent law now requires Filipino World War II Veterans be awarded the medal.

"I was so proud because it's been 75 years since they awarded something for the Filipino WWII veterans," said Edel Alayon.

Back at home, Kat's classmates at Underwood Elementary watched the ceremony. 

"It was really interesting because they learned how the ceremony how the flags were presented, how a ceremony like that even is done," said Cheryl Wegner, an Underwood Elementary Teacher.

Kat is proud to share her Filipino heritage. 

"I was so happy that I found out they were watching the ceremony," Kat said.