Awarding of Congressional Gold Medals to mark 76th Death March anniversary
SAN FRANCISCO – The public is invited to the commemoration of the 76th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March, Saturday, April 7, 2018, at 9 a.m. at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio (1 Lincoln Drive, San Francisco, CA). The event is free and open to the public.
Bataan Legacy Historical Society, the Presidio Trust, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project are hosting the event.
Seventy-six years ago, approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East were forced to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army after fighting in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines for 99 days with no air support or reinforcement.
Most of the men suffered from disease and starvation and were forced to march to their prison camp which was located over 60 miles away under extreme tropical conditions with no provisions for food, water, shelter or medicine. Those who could no longer go on were beaten, bayoneted, shot and some were even beheaded. Thousands died during this march, which became infamously known as the Bataan Death March.
The outdoor program will start at 9 a.m. with a procession by JROTC Cadets from San Francisco high schools led by the Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers Association Color Guards and followed by the 191st U.S. Army Band and the Pacific Division/84th Training Command Rifle Detail. A wreath laying ceremony will take place simultaneously with a 21-gun rifle salute by the Pacific Division/84th Training Command Rifle Detail.
At 10:30 a.m., an indoor program will take place at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio (135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco) to award bronze replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal to the remaining Filipino WWII veterans and to the families of deceased veterans. In view of the space limitations, this event is by invitation only.
The medals will be awarded by serving and retired U.S. Army Generals led by Maj. General (Ret.) Eldon Regua a member of the California Governor’s Military Council, Maj. General Garrett Yee (Keynote Speaker), Director of Networks, Services, and Strategy, Office of the Army Chief Information Officer, and Brig. General Windsor Buzza, Deputy Commanding General of the 84th Training Command.
Bataan Legacy Historical Society worked successfully with the California Department of Education to include WWII in the Philippines in the Grade 11 U.S. history curriculum framework. It commissioned several Bay Area high school history teachers to create sample lesson plans that are consistent with California Common Core Standards and which are now available for free through its website.
It has presented the lesson plans in conferences starting last year and this year; these will be presented during the Association of Asian American Studies Conference in San Francisco on March 31 and the Organization of American Historians Conference in Sacramento on April 12.