Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Visiting an 85-year old Philippine relic in Warsaw, Virginia

Eighty five years ago on 20 June 1926, the Filipino people dedicated a memorial to Honorable William Atkinson Jones, representative of the First District of Virginia to the US Congress in 1890-1918, in Warsaw, Virginia.  He was the author of the Jones Law a.k.a. the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916.

In our blog in January last year, we wondered if anyone has ever seen this Philippine memorial, officially called William Atkinson Jones Mausoleum, which was erected as "a tribute of undying gratitude of the Filipino people."

It took us some time to locate this mausoleum in Warsaw despite the GPS that guided our trip all the way from Old Town in Alexandria on 12 June.  The fact that it was Philippine independence day didn't have anything to do with our search.  The proclamation of independence in Kawit, Cavite certainly has more meaning to us all today than the promise in the Jones Law of our independence "as soon as a stable government can be established"

There is supposed to be the Jones mansion nearby where the gifts of gold tablet worth $10,000 with a touching inscription from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and a cup that became famous from Manuel L Quezon, among others, were displayed in 1926.  

The mausoleum stands out in the cemetery yard of the St. John's Episcopal Church.  Beside the church is another structure, however, this doesn't look like a mansion.

The memorial is very well-kept even if it is not in the tourism maps of Virginia.  

We'd like to look at it now as a memorial to the school children who contributed their precious centavos to help the Philippine government put up $35,000 for its construction with the hope that they will see the grant of independence during their lifetime.

Postscript.  Our thanks to Art & Pia of Alexandria, VA for taking us to historical places in Virginia and Washington DC.

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