Saturday, April 9, 2011

9 April

World War II Bataan (Death) March
1961 - "Bataan Day" is proclaimed as legal holiday in the Philippines under Republic Act No. 3022 to commemorate the start of the Bataan Death March, the World War II atrocity in which some 75,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war were forcibly and often fatally made to march by their Japanese captors from Bataan peninsula towards prison camps; the 1942 event came after the retreating American forces in Bataan surrendered to the Japanese who earlier made victorious surprise attacks against the United States Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor and subsequently the air base at Clark Field in Luzon island, the Philippines that was then an American colony; "Bataan Day" would later be changed to the euphemistic "Araw ng Kagitingan" by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1979 following anti-American criticisms and arguments that war defeats should not be celebrated; the inhumane treatment and experience met by the approximately 63,000 Filipino and 12,000 Americans during the march is said to have been caused by the big number of prisoners overwhelming the Japanese whose operation plan was only for 25,000 prisoners of war; the original text of the Philippine law proclaiming April 9 as "Bataan Day" reads:
Section 1. The ninth day of April is hereby proclaimed as Bataan Day, and all public officials and citizens of the Philippines are enjoined to observe such day with a one-minute silence at 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon, and to hold appropriate rites in honor of the heroic defenders of Bataan and their parents, wives and/or widows.

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