A Symbolic March will take place on Saturday, April 8, 2017 on Bataan Road, Orangeburg, N.Y.; will commence at 1 p.m.; thousands expected to participate.

EVENT: On Saturday, April 8, 2017 thousands will come together to Commemorate this historic event by participating in a half-mile long Symbolic March, sponsored by the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation in partnership with Dominican College and The Filipino-American Triathlon Club.

Many veterans groups and Filipino-American civic groups will participate, joined by active duty troops of the 31st Infantry Regiment from Ft. Drum, NY, a unit whose forebears fought so valiantly at Bataan, and a locally based National Guard unit.

To bridge the gap of 75 years, students are being encouraged to take part.

Following the March, there will be introductions of dignitaries.

Tess Dizon-de Vega, the Consul General of the Philippines Consulate General New York will be a primary speaker; homage will be paid to the 31st Infantry Regiment and the Philippine Scouts.

Filipino-American Latin Soul legend Joe Bataan will perform, as will Ed Simons, 100-year-old violinist, who was part of a string-trio that played for President Harry S. Truman on the ship taking him to and from the Potsdam Conference; The Voice of Friendship Singers, led by an alumnus of the world famous Philippine Madrigal Singers, will sing the national anthems of the U.S. and the Philippines and will give their rendition of several famous Filipino songs.

All World War II veterans in attendance will be singled out for special honors.

A memorial plaque will be unveiled.

An educational symposium on the history and significance of Bataan will be held at Lawrence Hall of Dominican College from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

HISTORY: On the same day that Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japanese also invaded the Philippines which, in December 1941, was still a Commonwealth of the U.S.

This culminated in a major military engagement which took place on the Bataan Peninsula.

Following months of a hard fought, drawn out battle, a joint force of 75,000 Philippine and American troops surrendered to Japan on April 9, 1942, largely due to lack of food and ammunition, as well as rampant disease.

Refusing to pay heed to the Geneva Conventions, the Japanese forced their captives, many already seriously ill and near starvation, to walk 65 miles, devoid of food and water, in the oppressive summer heat.

In what has become known as the Bataan Death March, an estimated 1,000 Americans and 10,000 Filipino died, many brutally murdered by their guards.

But, for the Philippine-American forces, this was just the beginning of their March through Hell.

“Guests of the Emperor” until the very last day of WWII, subjected to one inhumanity after another, only one out of three finally came home alive, and many of the survivors were just shells of their former selves.  

Seventy-five years later, on Saturday, April 8, on Bataan Road in Orangeburg, N.Y., we will commemorate their heroism and sacrifice.

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