On this day, April 9, in 1942, under the orders of Major General Edward P. King Jr., 12,000 American and 66,000 Filipinos surrendered to the Japanese at Bataan in the Philippines. It was the largest contingent of U.S. soldiers ever to surrender. What ensued would be forever known as The Bataan Death March.
Under the harshest and cruelest conditions imaginable the Japanese marched the prisoners for several days straight, toward Camp O’Donnell, a former Philippine Army camp. Between 7,000 – 10,000 people were killed on the march, before they ever reached O’Donnell. For those that survived the hell was far from over, as they would be routinely beaten, tortured and forced into labor at Camp O’Donnell, infamous Cabanatuan, and other prison camps.
By the time the Japanese surrendered, and the U.S. Army liberated the Bataan prisoners of war, two-thirds of the American prisoners had died.
Today, let us pause and remember those–both American and Filipino–who died during the occupation, as well as those who, against all odds, survived to see the end of the war.