Today we commemorate the Day of Valor, formerly called Bataán Day, to remind us of the heroism of our soldiers there (together with American forces) against the Japanese invaders during World War II.
Bataán, the last province to surrender to Japanese aggression in the Pacific, was a bloody witness to that country’s victory over our shores. Major General Edward P. King, Jr., seeing the futility of putting up a gallant stand against the Japanese, was forced to surrender more than 76,000 of what is left under his command after three months of fighting the invaders. Of this number, almost 12,000 were American soldiers, thus making this the largest American military force in history to surrender to an enemy.
What followed next after the surrender was the brutal Bataán Death March, wherein the prisoners were forced to walk from Mariveles, Bataán to Capas, Tarlac under harsh conditions that would’ve made both Freddie Krueger and Jason Voorhees weep.
More or less 20,000 men died from the Bataán Death March.
We owe our freedom and our dignity to these great heroes of World War II. But may we not have wars anymore. Nowadays, wars are reserved only for the stupidest of men.
Day of Valor or not, the heroes of Bataán shall never ever be forgotten that easily.