70th Anniversary of Bataan Day In Chicago
Remarks of Major Edwin H. Walker, IV, USMC, Vice President, Maywood Bataan Day Organization
At the Philippine Consulate, Chicago, Illinois, on April 4, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen!
It is a great honor to be present on this auspicious occasion to celebrate the 70th Commemoration or “Platinum Jubilee” of Bataan Day in the City of Chicago.
The President of our Maywood Bataan Day Organization is in the Philippines at present and will represent our organization at celebrations in the homeland.
American and Filipino forces fought side by side at Bataan and Corregidor during the early dark days of World War II and gave their lives during the gruesome Bataan Death March and in Japanese Hell Ships and Prison Camps. Thanks to their courageous perseverance and bravery, the Imperial Japanese Army was delayed long enough to prevent an invasion of Australia (a fact often overlooked by historians).
Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942, and the following day some 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers, as Japanese captives, all became victims of the greatest atrocity of the Pacific War: The Bataan Death March. Under terrific air and artillery bombardment, the island of Corregidor held out until May 6, 1942.
Since September 1942, the Maywood Bataan Day Organization has worked to preserve the memory of Co “B” of the 192nd Tank Battalion, who, as members of the 33rd Tank Company, 33rd Infantry Division of the Illinois National Guard, based at the Armory in Maywood, were federalized in November 1940 and subsequently sent to the Philippines in October 1941.
Thanks to the presence and support of the Chicago Area Filipino-American community, today Filipino-Americans are an important part of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization. Indeed, one of our past Presidents was Justo Alamar, husband of Estrella Alamar, one of our current Board members. In addition, our keynote speakers have included former Consul-General Emelinda Lee-Pineda, the present Consul-General Leo M. Herrera-Lim and Colonel Emilio Hidalgo.
On this 70th Anniversary of the surrender of Bataan, let us renew our pledge to never forget the incredible valor, sacrifice, and brotherhood that the Filipinos showed in defending their homeland, shoulder to shoulder with Americans.
May God bless American and the Republic of the Philippines
Alalahanin natin ang Bataan.
Major Edwin H. Walker, IV, USMC