J.p. Lawrence, a reporter at the San Antonio Express-News, is an Iraq War veteran and a writer whose freelance work has appeared in The Guardian, The Intercept, and Salon. (November 2017)

NYR DAILY

The Bells of Balangiga

US soldiers who survived a surprise attack during the Philippine-American war posing with one of the bells of Balangiga, Philippines, 1901-1909

To commemorate the forty-eight men they lost in the battle of 1901—or perhaps to avenge them—American troops brought the three bells of Balangiga home from the Philippines with them. When President Donald Trump travels to Asia this November, he will meet with the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who recently called for the return of the bells. At the heart of the dispute is the question of how we ought to remember a little-known, inglorious war in which American and Filipino troops alike committed acts of valor and war crimes.