Sunday, April 09, 2017

Philippine news

Remembering the Bataan death march.

Most of those who died were locals.

the oldest local survivor was a doctor:

Oldest Survivor — At 107, retired Army Captain Jose P. Javier is the oldest living Filipino World War II veteran who survived the infamous Bataan Death March. (Courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

Mrs. Javier said her husband’s “passion for prayer trusting God and putting the Lord first has not diminished to date.” In fact, in his book, Capt. Javier disclosed that he attended Mass and received Holy Communion at every opportunity even during the war. It was a Belgian priest who said the Mass held secretly in their mountain hideout in Luzon.
read the whole thing.

The march is also remembered in Texas and New Mexico. 

The main highlight, the annual Bataan Memorial Death March (BMDM), is a re-enactment of the arduous 65-mile march by 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers following the surrender of Bataan on April 9, 1942. As many as 10,000 men—9,000 Filipinos and 1,000 Americans—perished in the march while many more died at prison camps. The BMDM is considered to be the largest commemoration outside the Philippines.   
when I worked with the Apaches in Mescalero, our church had a plaque remembering those who died. It turns out the NMNG included several Apaches, and the priest that was working at the mission, Father Braun, went along to help, and ended up a POW.

as for our family: no one was involved in the march, but Lolo's older brother and cousin joined the local guerrillas. His cousin was killed, and his sisters have a small shrine in their house with his photo and the letter from Harry S Truman to the family.

Lolo was too young, but at the end of the war, like many Pinoys, he joined to help... he claims he mainly patrolled the streets and didn't see action.  This may or may not be true. Like most veterans, he doesn't talk about it much...

But every year, he and his fellow soldiers would march at the head of the local fiesta parade every year.. the guys would stay here and spend three days drinking and talking and playing cards.

but in the last 15 years, one by one, they either died or were too frail to march.


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