Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor)
Today we remember our soldiers who fought bravely in World War II. This day also marked the Fall of Bataan to the Japanese invading forces. Here’s a more detailed account of the event on that fateful day.
At dawn, 9 April 1942, and against the orders of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., commanding Luzon Force, Bataan, Philippine Islands, surrendered more than 75,000 (66,000 Filipinos, 1,000 Chinese Filipinos, and 11,796 Americans) starving and disease-ridden men. He inquired of Colonel Motoo Nakayama, the Japanese colonel to whom he tendered his pistol in lieu of his lost sword, whether the Americans and Filipinos would be well treated. The Japanese aide-de-camp replied: “We are not barbarians.” The majority of the prisoners of war were immediately robbed of their keepsakes and belongings and subsequently forced to endure a 90-mile (140 km) enforced march in deep dust, over vehicle-broken macadam roads, and crammed into rail cars to captivity at Camp O’Donnell. Thousands died en route from disease, starvation, dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton execution.
Those few who were lucky enough to travel to San Fernando on trucks still had to endure more than twenty five miles of marching. Prisoners were beaten randomly, and were often denied promised food and water. Those who fell behind were usually executed or left to die; the sides of the roads became littered with dead bodies and those begging for help.
On the Bataan Death March, approximately 54,000 of the 72,000 prisoners reached their destination. The death toll of the march is difficult to assess as thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards. All told, approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell.
Ironically, I was listening to Eskapo’s album Kalayaan this morning and thought I’d post this track on the day this actually happened 66 years ago.
Eskapo is a hardcore band composed of Filipino-American members and they are based in Vallejo, California. They have a new album out and it’s entitled Wind of Hell. Check out this band, I highly recommend it. You can find out more about them at their site HERE.