Remembering bravery of Fil-Am troops
April 13, 2012 · Updated 10:34 AM
To remember is to honor: Let it never happen again. With only five living survivors of the WWII Bataan Death March in Washington state, the Bataan Remembrance Ceremony held on April 7 at Bataan Park in Bremerton takes on special poignancy and commendation.
Bataan Death March lasted four days (April 10-14, 1942) and was the culmination of a ferocious three-month Battle of Bataan, Philippines. The Militaristic Imperial Japanese Army’s Dec. 7, 1941 invasion of the Commonwealth of the Philippines culminated in the surrender of Fil-Am forces. Some 76,000 Filipino and American soldiers (Fil-Am) prisoners of war were savagely death-marched 80 miles in searing heat and torture. Total deaths on the march exceeded 16,000 and of the march survivors, an additional 29,000 died in POW camps, Japanese hell-ship prisons or forced labor in Japan.
Event keynote speaker Douglas Gamble brilliantly outlined how the suffering and valor of the Fil-Am POW forces forged undying friendship and brotherhood between these two countries that endures to this day. While Japan planned for a quick conquer of the Philippines and a war pivot westward to Australia and U.S. mainland, the resolve and tenacity of the Fil-Am Freedom Fighter troops upended this Imperial Japan threat.
At a time when many WWII memorial events become more diffuse and amorphous, this memorial served vivid testimonials to valor, savage atrocities, suffering and resolve. Historical accuracy served without revisionism is highly welcome. God bless the bravery and valor of the Fil-Am warriors.
Check BKAT for time/date of the broadcast of this event.
James M. Olsen
Fort Ward, Bainbridge Island