On April 9, 1942, the American and Philippine soldiers who were holding out in the siege of Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese.

The Manila Bulletin reminds us of what happened then:

Some 72,000 men of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) laid down their arms. On the Death March, 20,000 died. Of the 52,000 who survived the march (42,000 Filipinos and 9,200 Americans) and were imprisoned at Camp O’Donnel in Capas, Tarlac, 30,000 more died.

The majority of those who died in that dreadful march were local Filipinos.

The dark days of World War II are scarcely remembered, although the veterans who fought along side the Americans or as irregulars have finally received recognition (a cash payment in the recent “stimulus package”).

In some intellectual circles of the US, the idea of heroism is ignored, or those who make the headlines for sports or acting are called “heroes”. the cross at samarYet the Philippines remembers their heroes, and knows that heroism means sacrifice.

It is somehow fitting that The Day of Valor this year is being remembered during Holy Week.

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Photograph by © Louis Zechtzer
http://www.clarity.net/~lou/

Cross Monument,
Mt. Samat, Dambana ng Kagitingan,
Pilar, Bataan (The Philippines).

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Phiippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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