Holoman AFB Remembers Bataan
by: Daniel McArdle
This month the local chapter of The Stacks from Holloman AFB/Alamogordo took on the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) New Mexico. This year marks the 77th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March and the 30th Anniversary of the memorial march.
This year more than 8,600 people from 50 states and 12 countries gathered to pay tribute to the selfless sacrifices of the American and Pilipino military members who were forced to endure the 65-mile trek of the Bataan. During the opening ceremony, we were introduced to 5 surviving members of the march and a roll call was held that included them and some their fallen comrades. It was a truly humbling experience for all in attendance.
The memorial march takes place along a 26.2-mile course through high desert terrain. It was challenging and rewarding. People have many reasons for completing this event including personal challenge, the spirit of competition, or to foster esprit de corps in their unit.
Some march in honor of a family member or a particular veteran who was in the Bataan Death March or who was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in the Philippines. Along the route, we met so many wonderful motivated people from all walks of life including veterans and active military spanning generations. We also met some amazing disabled veterans who despite their injuries came out strong and conquered this challenge.
In closing, I will leave you with this poem from journalist Frank Hewlett who covered these events. The poem is titled, “the Battling Bastards of the Bataan”:
“We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan,
No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam,
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces,
And nobody gives a damn!”
Hopefully, the great showing of people that participate in the march every year along with efforts of organizations like Stack Up we can continue to show all our veterans and active military we do give a damn.
If you are in New Mexico and would like to get involved with this chapter of The Stacks and participate in more events like this please check out their information HERE. Not in that part of the country, not to worry! You can find a chapter of The Stacks closest to you HERE and Stack Up with us today!