Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega (center) with Filipino community members in Rockland County. (Photo by Almar Solis)
The 75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March was commemorated in an afternoon long program in Orangeburg, N.Y. on April 8, 2017.
A joint effort of local historian Jerome Kleinman in collaboration with Filipino-American Associations in Rockland County, New York, - the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation, PASAR, and FAR - the Fil-Am Triathlon Team; and with the support of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, the program started off with a mile-long symbolic march down Bataan Road, Orangeburg named in honor of the Battle of Bataan.
Over 200 participated in the march with the Filipino-American contingent comprised of organizations based in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The program featured messages on the significance of the Death March from Philippine Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega, New York State Senator David Carlucci, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, and Orangeburg Town Supervisor Andrew Stewart.
Several veterans of foreign wars were likewise present and were recognized at the program.
In her message, de Vega spoke of the importance of honoring and remembering the twin legacies of the Battle of Bataan and the Death March.
She also shared how the event was particularly meaningful for her as her late paternal grandfather, a longtime resident of Capas, Tarlac, donated a plot of land to the Philippine Government for the establishment of a Capas Death March memorial.
The men of the 31st Infantry Regiment and the Philippine Scouts were recognized for their critical roles in the Battle of Bataan.
Part of the audience at the event. (Photo by NYPCG)
Popular Afro-Filipino-American singer Joe Bataan, named for the famous battle, rendered special musical numbers.
The program ended with the unveiling of a new memorial plaque on Bataan Road in historic Camp Shanks, Orangeburg.
Camp Shanks functioned as a training ground and embarkation point for troops to be sent to Europe during World War II.
As Camp Shanks was being built in 1942, the streets inside the camp were given nondescript names except for Bataan Road.
The Filipino-American Triathlon Team likewise invited the public to take part in their Run for Veterans causes which will take place this year in four major U.S. cities, including New York.
A symposium on the Battle of Bataan and the Death March featuring West Point Historian Sherman Fleek, Jerome Kleinman, Jerry Donnellan and Dr. Scott White of the Dominican College Department of History took place after the program.
Other panelists included Donald Plata, Victor Verano and Jay Chabot who discussed the Philippine Scouts and the film “Forgotten Soldiers,” directed and produced by Plata.
Jerome Kleinman introduces veterans of World War II. (Photo by NYPCG)
New York State Senator David Carlucci delivers remarks. (Photo by NYPCG)
Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega delivers a message. (Photo by Juliet Payabyab)