The Bataan Death March: Experiencing the walk of death
This week, the city of Tarlac commemorates the Bataan Death March with the participation of locals and volunteers from different branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The goal is to help people become aware of the sacrifices that Filipino and American soldiers made 75 years ago as they were forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to march to a concentration camp 160 kilometers away.
For thousands of Filipino and American soldiers, part of World War II's history was about surviving the long march and witnessing the death of their comrades. According to official documents, the official troop count in Bataan on April 13, 1942 was 74,800 Filipinos and 11,796 Americans. An estimated 60,600 Filipinos and 9,900 Americans were part of the Death March from April 9-15, 1942.
By the time they arrived in Capas, there were only 45,600-plus Filipinos and 9,300-plus Americans; the rest died along the way.
At the War Memorial shrine, members of the public have a chance to experience how the soldiers struggled and died at the hands of the Japanese army. The commemorative march started at the city’s people’s park, 10 kilometers away. Those who joined made their way through residential areas and main roads, the same routes World War II prisoners walked.
In Capas, the participants looked for their grandparents’ names on the war memorial that has the names of all the soldiers etched as part of Philippine history.
Soldiers arrive at the assembly area to begin the 10-kilometer march to experience how the Filipino and American soldiers felt in the original Death March. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Soldiers begin the long march at dawn in Capas. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Units from the (PNP) Special Action Force join the march as it weaves through villages in Capas. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Boy scouts and girl scouts join the march as they wave to passersby during the commemoration of that fateful march. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
The march uses half the road as they begin the march in Capas. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Residents in the city view the parade from inside their passenger jeepney. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People in period costumes reenact scenes during World War II on Tuesday in Tarlac City to commemorate the Bataan Death March. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
An armored assault vehicle passes by a pillar marking the route of the original Death March. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Military forces joining the commemoration pass by the Sto. Domingo abandoned train station. This is where the prisoners of war were loaded onto trains that delivered them to the concentration camps in Camp O'Donnell. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Participants in period-costumes re-enact dramatic scenes involving prisoners of war and how they were treated by Japanese soldiers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Color guards prepare to welcome the participants in the commemoration of the Bataan Death March. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
A lone soldier walks along the collonade leading to the memorial obelisk commemorating the Bataan Death March. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Relatives of fallen soldiers look up names of their grandparents who died in the war at the Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
The names of all World War II Filipino and American fighters who died as well as those who survived the concentration camps are written on the Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Visitors take pictures of the names of fallen soldiers at the Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News