SF-based historical society to commemorate 81st Bataan Death March on April 15


The infamous “Bataan Death March” | Photo courtesy of Bataan Legacy Historical Society

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS) will commemorate the 81st Anniversary of the Bataan Death March on Saturday, April 15 at 10 a.m. at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio at 1 Lincoln Boulevard, in the city by the bay. BLHS has partnered with the San Francisco National Cemetery, VFW 91st Division/Chinatown Post 4618, American Legion Riders Chapter 105, and Memorial Squadron to hold the event.

On April 9, 1942, approximately 75,000 Filipino and U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) were forced to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army after fighting in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. The USAFFE troops delayed the 50-day timetable of the Japanese Army by holding on to Bataan for 99 days without air support, massive disease, and starvation among the soldiers.

BLHS Event Poster

After the Fall of Bataan, they were forced to march to their prison camp about 65 miles away under highly tropical conditions without food, water, shelter, or medicine provisions. Those who could no longer go on were beaten, stabbed, shot, and some were even beheaded. Thousands died during this march, which became infamously known as the Bataan Death March. It became a rallying cry in the United States as thousands enlisted to join the war.

The Bataan Legacy Historical Society said they had invited Filipino and Amerian descendants of the USAFFE and civilians to bring them together in this year’s commemoration. This includes the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, the San Francisco Fire Department, BART Police, the University of San Francisco ROTC Program, the San Francisco Unified School District JROTC Program, the American Legion Riders, the Golden Gate Young Marines, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Memorial Squadron.

Brig. Gen.(Ret) Steven McLaughlin will be the Master of Ceremonies. Philippine Consul General of San Francisco Neil Ferrer will be one of the speakers, and the keynote speaker will be Maj. Gen. Miles Davis, Commanding General of the 63rd Readiness Division. Rear Admiral (Ret) Jonathan Yuen will lead the Tolling of the Bells for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He will be joined by flag and senior Armed Forces officers, local law enforcement, and descendants.

The 191st U.S. Army Band members, the Universal Choir and Soprano Judith Javier-Tiu will provide the music, and the American Legion Riders Chapter 105 will hold a 21-gun salute. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Air Squadron will provide a flyover during the procession. At the same time, the Memorial Squadron will make a flyover tribute to the Missing Man while Taps is being played.

Bataan Legacy Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, worked successfully with the California Department of Education to include WWII in the Philippines as part of Chapter 16 of the Grade 11 U.S. History curriculum framework. Its mission is to instill civic pride and engagement in young adults through the lessons of WWII in the Philippines from the perspectives of Filipino and American military and civilians.

Registration (Free) is encouraged through Eventbrite. For more information, please visit their website, www.bataanlegacy.org.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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