Tuesday, April 4, 2017

America remembers Bataan's 75th anniversary

Hundreds of marchers in White Sands, New Mexico trekked 26 miles (the Bataan Death March was 65 miles) last month to remember the thousands of American and Filipino POW's who were part of the infamous Bataan Death March. The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range. The memorial march is conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health, and, in many cases, their very lives.

  World War II's Battle of Bataan in the Philippines may be recorded as a defeat for the U.S. Armed Forces of the
Far East, but it was a victory for the human spirit. Thousands of POW's died in the one of WWII's greatest atrocities - the Bataan Death March.

THIS COMING WEEKEND, April 8 and 9, will be the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan. Ceremonies will be held in the Philippines and across the United States to remember one of the darkest events of WWII.

“It is particularly significant this year because very few people actually know the story of Bataan and being the 75th anniversary, there are very few survivors left to tell the story. This could be one of the last times that the community can honor these men and recognize their bravery,” says Lyn Rolf III, director of programs at the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“It was perhaps the second most consequential event of World War II after Pearl Harbor, but even the people in the Philippines do not know the history of the Bataan. It is so important to educate people about Bataan and to honor those who survived,” says Robert Hansen, a member of the board of directors of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society and the grandson of a Bataan survivor.

In San Francisco, the Bataan Legacy Historical Society is partnering with the Presideo Trust, the National Park Service, and a host of other organizations to mark the somber occasion, to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives, survived the brutalities of war and the few who still are alive from that battle where Filipino and American soldiers fought against the Japanese Imperial Army in the first major land battle of World War II that involved U.S. forces.

Click here for the program. Please note that you must RSVP to attend the indoor ceremonies. (See flyer for information.)

Legendary jazz musician Joe Bataan will be the guest of honor in Organgeburg, New York.

At the commemoration, Bataan told lohud.com he'll be singing a solo rendition of the Lord’s Prayer and will be part of the performance of the national anthem.

He said he'll be thinking of his father, Pio Nitollano, who came to the United States in the 1930s but never had an opportunity to return to the Philippines.

"I got a strange feeling that this is going to make me cry, because it will make me remember my father and what he went through," Bataan said. "He never got to go back."

OTHER OBSERVANCES (Some events may already have been held.):

(Add to this list by emailing a link to an event at dioknoed@gmail.com.)