The Fall of Unsung Heroes In the year 1948
The Fall of Unsung Heroes
In the year 1948, when a famous artist named Dominador Castañeda made a historical painting entitled, ”Death March.” It was related to the historical event of the Bataan Death March which happened during the early times of World War II. This gave us an idea through Castañeda’s painting of what the soldiers experienced before and what are the cause of thousands of deaths of our fellowmen at that time. It was a true to life event from the past where allied soldiers of Filipinos and Americans experienced the walk of death.
The Bataan Death March was a forced march that includes 75,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war who were captured by the Japanese. Only about 54,000 soldiers who survived the 140-kilometer march starting from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles to Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, and via San Fernando, Pampanga.
During the Death March, all the prisoners under the Japanese were used as slaves while having poor conditions and only given a little amount of food to eat; barely of them survived. As the soldiers became weaker and weaker many of them started to fall behind the group. Those who dropped from exhaustion or sickness, fell behind, broke ranks to fetch water, or tried to escape were bayoneted. Others had been stabbed to death, casual shooting, beaten up, and beheaded. Also, some diseases spread rapidly because of the overcrowded conditions and poor hygiene. Not only the soldiers, but also the people at that time of Death March who tried to help them were also executed in front of their own families.
The march lasted for six days. No one is sure how many soldiers died along the way, but estimates put the death toll between 5,000 and 10,000. Once the soldiers reached the camp, conditions didn’t improve much. Thousands of them died at the camp from starvation and disease over the next few years. With just a simple stare, we can see how others still strive and manage to continue and endure hunger, dehydration, exhaustion, injuries, and all kinds of sufferings.
I once visited the train where the death march takes place. It was in my hometown in San Fernando, Pampanga where the prisoners were loaded onto trains. Just try to imagine how the soldiers still manage to overcome those struggles after a very long tiring walk and at the same time, having a hard time enduring the pain physically from the abusive way of the Japanese. I can say, it was really a hard to experience such an event like that. We should be thankful for their sacrifices for us to have our freedom.
Despite of that tragedy, the people are still holding each other to gain support and encouragement to go on and still fight for their lives even they are between the life and death situation while they’ll never know what will happen next. It was truly a lifeless incident that had been occurred and a part of our Philippine History. Bataan Death March was one of the heartbreaking and saddest event that gave a wide contribution towards the country’s freedom. They were so brave back then, by sacrificing their lives for our country. This made them more deserving to be honored. We must always be proud to called them as ”Our Filipino Heroes.”