On April 9, 1942, at the final stage of the Battle of Bataan, approximately 76,000 Filipino and American troops, commanded by Major General Edward “Ned” P. King, Jr., were formally surrendered to a Japanese army of 54,000 men under Lt. General Masaharu Homma. This was the single largest surrender of a military force in American history.* This event would go down in history as The Fall of Bataan, and is commemorated each year as Araw ng Kagitingan (“Day of Valor”), or Bataan Day.
“Those who cannot learn from history
are doomed to repeat it.” —George Santayana
It’s interesting to know that in the United States the Bataan Death March is commemorated with a race. Yes, we do have a holiday to remember this day of infamy, but tracing the footsteps our proud heroes had to endure to restore our freedom—that is something we can only imagine—until a few days ago.
It was thanks to Sir Jovie’s (Bald Runner) vision of having an ultramarathon race tracing the exact route of the Death March from km 0 in Mariveles, Bataan to km 102 in San Fernando, Pampanga that sowed the seeds, and after months of planning and preparation, the Bataan 102 Ultramarathon was born.
I salute the “few, proud, and brave warriors” of Bataan 102. You have every right to be proud not only by finishing 102K but by starting that first step tribute to our proud history. Congratulations to all the “warriors” and organizers of Bataan 102.
Tomorrow is Araw ng Kagitingan, let us all remember our lessons in history so we may never again repeat the mistakes of our past.
* Excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_death_march