SAN FRANCISCO – The Bataan Legacy Historical Society, in partnership with the San Francisco National Cemetery, VFW 91st Division/Chinatown Post 4618, American Legion Riders Chapter 105 and Memorial Squadron, 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 (1 Lincoln Boulevard, San Francisco, CA).
Eighty-one years ago, on April 9, 1942, approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) were forced to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army after fighting in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. Despite suffering from massive disease, starvation and fighting without any air support, the USAFFE troops were able to delay the 50-day timetable of the Japanese Army by holding onto Bataan for 99 days.
After the Fall of Bataan they were forced to march to their prison camp about 65 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. It became a rallying cry in the United States as thousands enlisted to join the war.
This year’s commemoration will bring together Filipino and American descendants of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and civilians during WWII in the Philippines. The program will have the participation of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, San Francisco Fire Department, BART Police, 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 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 officers of the Armed Forces, local law enforcement and descendants. Music will be provided by members of the 191st U.S. Army Band, the Universal Choir and Soprano Judith Javier-Tiu. A 21-gun salute will be provided by the American Legion Riders Chapter 105. A flyover during the procession will be provided by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Air Squadron while a flyover tribute to the Missing Man will be made by the Memorial Squadron while Taps is being played.
Bataan Legacy Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, worked successfully with the California Department of Education to include World War II 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 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bataan-death-march-81st-anniversary-commemoration-tickets-532523651577?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb). For more information, please visit our website at www.bataanlegacy.org. (BLHS Release)