Dangerfield Island, Virginia
For the third year in a row, families and friends in the DMV’s Filipino American community gathered early Saturday morning to honor the service and sacrifice of Filipino and American soldiers who endured the Bataan Death March. Joining them this year are a dozen cadets from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, a student from West Point, and Philippine diplomatic and defense officials.
At the opening ceremony, Maryland Delegate Kris Valderrama cheered the participants and thanked them for their support. She exhorted the marchers to remember they are the descendants of heroes and to never forget the bravery and sacrifice of the Death Marchers in April 1942. Valderrama later joined the march.
Also speaking were Brigadier General (R) USAF, Jimmy Canlas, who described how his grandfather endured the horrors of the Death March and survived to raise a strong and accomplished family. The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy Jaime Ascalon also related to the marchers how he is the descendant of a Death March survivor–his grandfather. His grandfather is a source of pride and inspiration to him all his life. Many of the marchers had similar stories of relatives on the Death March which they passed on while on the memorial march and during the lunch. It is a bond unlike any others. Their pride was evident. – Sonny Busa
Maryland Delegate Kris Valderrama
The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) of Washington DC manned three nursing stations to attend to the medical needs of the marchers. Their encouragement and medical professionalism during the march was a salve to tired bodies and spirits. Several of them marched many miles also.
Richard Mercado (left) leads a group of marchers from the starting line.
Manning the registration desk were (from left) Diann Puzon, Lida Peterson and Linda Cabacar.
The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP), is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, community-based, all-volunteer national initiative whose mission is to obtain national recognition of Filipino and American WW11 soldiers across the United States and the Philippines for their wartime service to the U.S. and the Philippines from July 26, 1941 to December 31, 1946. For more information about Filipino WWII veterans and how to get involved, visit our website at www.filvetrep.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.