New Mexico’s ‘Bataan Memorial Death March’ — Mar. 15, 2020

/ 10:00 AM December 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the sixth year in a row, Filipino Americans from across the nation will be joining the Bataan Memorial Death March on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

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The Filipino Veterans Recognition & Education Project (FilVetREP), which has been sending a team every year, is calling on members of the Filipino American community to join the more than 10,000 marchers expected to register this year.

Participants are military members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and civilians from across the country and several foreign nations.

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In previous years, Filipino and American World War II veterans, surviving family members, veterans’ advocates, community supporters and Philippine Embassy dignitaries have participated in one of the toughest marathon-length events in the U.S.

Dozens of Filipinos and Filipino Americans joined the 2013 Bataan Memorial Death March race. AF.MIL

The race, which honors the soldiers who defended the Philippines at the outbreak of World War II, takes place in the rugged desert surrounding White Sands Missile Range.

 

26 miles of high desert, pure perseverance

Considered to be the largest commemoration of the Bataan Death March outside of the Philippines, the annual 26-mile march at White Sands was started by Army ROTC Department of the New Mexico State University in 1989.

Family members and descendants of Bataan Death March survivors at the 2017 opening ceremonies include U.S. Navy veteran Senior Chief Petty Officer Rey Cabacar (left) and Philip Baltazar, son of Purple Heart Awardee Jesse Baltazar, the last Filipino Bataan Death March survivor who attended the memorial march before passing away in 2016.

The event is in remembrance of the more than 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers who were force-marched 65 miles by Japanese troops following the surrender of Bataan on April 9, 1942. It’s a way of saying their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

FilVetREP National Chairman Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), in recalling the “brutal” experience his father and his comrades endured marching for 65 miles without food or water for days, said: “Let us be inspired by their service and sacrifice. Let’s do it for them, for their families, for us and for our country.”

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To join the FilVetREP delegation, call Sonny Busa, 703.915.8080 or email [email protected] Early bird registration ends on Dec. 31, 2019. Participants may register at https://bataanmarch.com/  and get more information here.

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TAGS: Bataan Death March commemoration, Bataan Memorial Death March, White Sands marathon, World War II in the Philippines
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