Remebering the Bataan Death March
A walk that killed thousands. A moment to remember a dark day in history.
On Tuesday, veterans gathered on this Day of Valor at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl to pay their respects to Filipino and American soldiers who were forced to walk to their deaths.
"We mark this day because so many Filipino and Americans sacrificed their lives," said Philippine Consulate General Julius Torres.
Seventy-one years ago, tens of thousands of soldiers were forced to begin marching 66 miles under brutal conditions, in what became known as the Bataan Death March.
"Seventy-five thousand troops surrendered to the Japanese army and that was the start of the death march," said Torres.
With little food or water, nearly 10,000 Filipinos and Americans died walking from Bataan to a prisoner of war camp 66 miles to the north.
"They did not yield their spirit and their sacrifices were not in vain," said Lt. Gen. Thomas Conant.
While Sen. Brian Schatz could not attend the ceremony, he introduced a bill that would ensure that Filipino soldiers who fought for the U.S. during World War II are provided full veteran benefits.
"The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act ensures that these brave Filipino soldiers are fully eligible for the veteran benefits that they deserve."
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