Tomorrow, is a special day in the Philippines.
“Araw ng Kagitingan” known in English as the Day of Valor is held on the 9th of April. The President of the Philippines has it celebrated on Monday for a long holiday weekend but most people agreed that it should be held on the proper day.
So what is this Day of Valor?
The Day of Valor (“Araw ng Kagitingan” in Filipino) is a national holiday in the Philippines which commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II.
At dawn, 9 April 1942, and against the orders of American Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., commanding Luzon Force, Bataan, Philippine Islands, surrendered more than 76,000 (67,000 Filipinos, 1,000 Chinese Filipinos, and 11,796 Americans) starving and disease-ridden men to the Japanese invasion forces.
The majority of the prisoners of war were immediately robbed of their keepsakes and belongings and subsequently forced to endure a 90-mile (140 km) enforced march in deep dust, over vehicle-broken macadam roads, and crammed into rail cars to captivity at Camp O’Donnell. Thousands died en route from disease, starvation, dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton execution.
Those few who were lucky enough to travel to San Fernando on trucks still had to endure more than twenty five miles of marching. Prisoners were beaten randomly, and were often denied promised food and water. Those who fell behind were usually executed or left to die; the sides of the roads became littered with dead bodies and those begging for help. On the Bataan Death March, approximately 54,000 of the 72,000 prisoners reached their destination.
The death toll of the march is difficult to assess as thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards. All told, approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell.
So, tomorrow we observed a moment of silence and prayer for all the heroes that fought to liberate the Philippines during the Second World War.