Monday, April 25, 2011

Bataan Day

I take this opportunity to salute the heroes who gave so much in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942. Bataan heroes day was celebrated here on April 9 with a ceremony honoring the veterans at Mount Samat. Mt. Samat is a commanding terrain feature somewhere in the middle of the Bataan peninsula and was subject to a terrific bombardment when the Japanese Imperial Army finally broke through the lines in early April 1942. As my family comes from Bataan, I took trips to the war memorial during the summer months of my childhood.

This year, my re-enactor friends from the Asia Airsoft Alliance joined the veterans' ceremony in the Mt. Samat memorial. The ceremony was also attended by active service members of the Philippine Armed Forces and visiting servicemen of the US Pacific Command. I'm still regretting that I wasn't up to joining my comrades after recovering from a long bout of respiratory infections and my asthmatic cough.



It was unusually foggy and wet at the start of the day when our group took positions at the memorial. Nonetheless I found this scene so apt as to produce a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought, bled and even died here so many years ago.

My humble thanks remain with the gallant generation who served with armed services of the Pacific Theater of Operations during the last World War, in particular, to the heroes of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) and the guerilla fighters who kept fighting the good fight after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Your sacrifice allowed us to enjoy the freedoms we should never, ever take for granted today.

You will never be forgotten.

5 comments:

  1. Our company took an overnight visit to Corregidor. The Malinta tunnel (and side tunnels) are awe-inspiring and the ruins of the various buildings (poured concrete, not hollow blocks) are similarly impressive.

    Of course, the stories of the retaking of the island are what impressed me most. A paratrooper drop! These Americans are crazy (but it worked, hehe)!

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  2. Thank you for posting this historical piece.
    --It is too easily forgotten for those of us a world away.

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to read this post my friends. I do hope to find the opportunity to re visit Corregidor island this year. I hear they fixed up the Malinta tunnels well and did a lot of recent restoration. It is my dream to hire a boat to take me to nearby El Fraile island. It is the ruin of a stronghold called Fort Drum. It was a concrete battleship which took a sever beating before the Japanese took it in '42. Basically, the US planners chopped up the little island, cemented it over and set up turrets with defensive guns. From what I read, the garrison gave a good fight before being overwhelmed by airpower. In '45 the returning US forces retook Ft. Drum with airborne troops (!) not an easy feat considering the terrain. They even poured in whole barrels of gasoline and flamethrowered the defenders.
    @Ka-Blog: think we can charter a boat to check this place out? :)

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