In Football Flyboy, my Dad’s letters showed that his heart hurt for the people in Manila. He had a friendship with Pepe, their house boy while in Manila. The stories about the atrocities committed during WWII affected Dad for years.
This week Trace, Tavin, and Tate took Dad’s funeral flag folded and encased in wood and glass, off the shelf. It was a remarkable moment as my Dad’s 3 great-grandsons say in awe as we discussed the price of the flag; it costs a life.
It’s moments like these that I am grateful that I could share the history of their family and about the Philippines with the next generation.
Day of Valor or 'Bataan Day'
The Day of Valor is celebrated annually on April 9th. On this day in 1942 Major General King of the United States Army had to surrender his forces to the Japanese, which included 76,000 Filipino, Chinese and American soldiers.
However, the Japanese was unprepared for the number of prisoners and decided to walk them 150km to a prison camp in San Fernando. During the march over 20,000 prisoners died because of starvation, exhaustion or at the hands of the Japanese. This is known as the ‘Bataan Death March’.
The heroic defense of Bataan by those soldiers was a key event in WWII because it allowed the allies time to prepare for later battles. This halted the Japanese progress in the pacific and eventually led to a turn in the fortunes and allied victory. On February 8, 1945 the Bataan peninsula was retaken by American and Filipino forces.