Remembering the Fall of Bataan, 2016

It is April 9th, 2016, the 74th anniversary of the fall of Bataan, which was the largest surrender of US troops in history. But they did not surrender in shame, as the Fil-Am armed forces in the Philippine Islands had fought the good fight.

In the Philippines, this day is known as the Day of Valor, the Araw ng Kagitingan, and it is commemorated in various ways:  “Many parades are held involving World War II veterans in different cities. The main event is held at the Mt Samat Shrine in Pilár, Bataan where the President of the Philippines and other dignitaries give speeches honouring the country’s veterans.”

“As the day is a public holiday, most people have the day off work, with some choosing to attend the parades and festivities. Many people spend the day with family and friends at various public venues, such as parks and shopping malls, which remain open.”  (publicholidays.ph)

Araw ng Kagitingan

This year Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III is to serve as guest of honor in the annual commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mt. Samat Shrine.  This marks the sixth and last time he will addresses war veterans as the head of state.

In the United States, this day is also commemorated, in what is called National Former POW Recognition Day.  It is declared so by presidential proclamation (see reference below).  It is perhaps not as well known in America as the annual POW/MIA remembrance in September each year and maybe confused with it.  Nonetheless it offers an annual opportunity to remember all those taken captive at Bataan, as well as the other conflicts America has engaged in.

To the veterans of Bataan, to those who fell in battle, or expired on the infamous Death March, or died in miserable POW camps, or while aboard the hellships or in destitute slave labor, we render a hand salute!  And the same honor to all those who fought on Bataan and survived all that came after to return home, a hand salute!  Thank you all for your service and sacrifice for freedom!

 

References

Araw ng Kagitingan, description, at:  http://publicholidays.ph/araw-ng-kagitingan/

Anniversary of Fall of Bataan poster from Malacañan Palace page in Facebook

National Former POW Recognition Day, 2016, at:  http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/716995/president-proclaims-national-former-prisoner-of-war-recognition-day