A Bataan Survivor Speaks

Commemorations of the Fall of Bataan take place at many places and in many ways. One such observance in 2015 was held in the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Hat Tip to Mr. Sean Conejos for his posting on the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society page on Facebook)

At the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, last Thursday, April 9, 2015, there was an Araw ng Kagitingan/Day of Valor ceremony. The event paid respects to the Fil-Am soldiers who bravely fought to defend the Philippines again Imperial Japan’s forces in the battles for Bataan and Corregidor in 1942.

A wreath laying ceremony was planned at the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge (State Street Bridge) across the Chicago River at 0900, at the corner of State Street and Wacker Drive in Chicago.

The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge carries State Street across the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois.  (Courtesy Historicbridges.org)

The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge carries State Street across the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy Historicbridges.org)

On one of the Bridge Tender houses at the corners of the bridge one can view the dedication plaque – one wonders how many Chicagoans were in the battles for Bataan and Corregidor.

Dedication Plaque on the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge in Chicago, Illinois.  (Courtesy TracesofWar.com)

Dedication Plaque on the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy TracesofWar.com)

Dedication Plaque
BATAAN-CORREGIDOR
MEMORIAL BRIDGE

DEDICATED

TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE GALLANT
HEROES FROM THE CHICAGO AREA
WHO WERE MEMBERS OF THE BESIEGED
GARRISON ON THE BATAAN PENINSULA
AND AT CORREGIDOR, PHILIPPINE
ISLANDS, IN WORLD WAR II.

MAY THE COURAGE AND FORTITUDE
DISPLAYED BY THIS GROUP IN THE
FACE OF ADVERSITY BE A CONSTANT
INSPIRATION TO OUR CITIZENS

1949

In addition to the above dedication, in 1998 another plaque was placed at the bridge, celebrating 100 years of Philippine independence and honoring all Fil-Am veterans of the 1941-1942 Philippines Campaign. It can be seen in the photo below adjacent to the Builder’s plaque on the bridge.

Builder's plaque and 1998 Dedication plaque on the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge in Chicago, Illinois (Courtesy Roces Family web log)

Builder’s plaque (left) and 1998 Dedication plaque on the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge in Chicago, Illinois (Courtesy Roces Family web log)

Rededication Plaque
In commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the
Philippine Independence, and on the occasion of
Bataan Day APRIL 9, 1998, this bridge has been re-
dedicated by Mayor Richard M. Daley in honor of
all the Filipino and American Veterans who fought
side-by-side during the Heroic Fall of Bataan and
Corregidor Island, Philippines in 1942.

Emelinda Lee – Pineda
Consul General
of the Philippines, Chicago

Mina T. Gabor
Secretary
Philippine Department of Tourism

Donated by the Philippine Department of Tourism

After the wreath laying ceremony at the bridge, a short program was held from 1000 to 1100 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Consulate General of the Philippines at 122 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago, Illinois 60603.

There were three veterans at the ceremony, including Colonel Emilio Hidalgo of the 51st Infantry Division (Philippine Army). The 51st, reduced in strength from division to a combat team of approximately regimental strength over the course of the campaign, was in the II Corps frontline on the east side of Bataan, in Sector C just to the east of Sector D, where the main Japanese blows fell on Good Friday, April 3, 1942, when the final Japanese offensive on Bataan began.

Bataan Campaign veteran Colonel Emilio Hidalgo, who served with the 51st Infantry Division (Philippine Army), photo circa 2011.  (Courtesy Maywood Bataan Day Organization)

Bataan Campaign veteran Colonel Emilio Hidalgo, who served with the 51st Infantry Division (Philippine Army), photo circa 2011. (Courtesy Maywood Bataan Day Organization)

Colonel Hidalgo spoke about the last 11 days on Bataan, from March 30 to April 9. You can view his seven- minute remarks on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/QBE7M6lKl6U

It is encouraging to see remembrance of the day at many different locations, such as in Chicago. May we always make the effort to commemorate our sacred heroes from that epic campaign.
References

“73rd Commemoration of Day of Valor, 09 April 2015,” Consulate general of the Philippines, Chicago, at: http://www.chicagopcg.com/pr12-15.pdf

“State Street Bridge – Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge,” at: http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=truss/statest/
Images

“Col. Hidalgo,” at:  http://mbdo.org/mabuhay-radio-online-article-about-cmdr-hidalgo-and-maywood-bataan-day/

“State Street Bridge – Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge,” at: http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=truss/statest/

“Plaque Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge,” at: http://en.tracesofwar.com/article/11758/Plaque-Bataan-Corregidor-Memorial-Bridge.htm

“1998 Dedication plaque and Builder’s plaque,” at: http://blog.rocesfamily.com/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s