Sunday, April 09, 2006

A day of valour....only one?

In the Philippines, the 9th April is a public holiday...marking 'Valour Day' or 'Bataan Day'.

On the 9th April 1942 the some 75,000 Filipino and American forces defending the Bataan Peninusla surrendered to the Japanese invaders. The surrender came some four months after the Battle for Bataan peninsula started. The following day the Bataan Death March began.

Sitting in my local Starbucks and trying to imagine the horrors that occured during this time in the Philippines (not forgetting the rest of the world) is very hard. Added to this seems to be a total lack of recognition for the brave people who gave their lives in defence of their country.

My local colleagues were hard pushed to explain the reasoning behind today being a public holiday....'something to do with the War' was the closest I got - is this the recognition that the war veterans fought for? Or are they just happy to see their children and grand-children growing up in a freer society with no imminent threat of invasion?

The other thing that strikes me as strange is that each year there is a 'Bataan Memorial Death March'....this takes place in New Mexico USA. I can understand the American connection (obviously)...but surely something like this, at least on the big anniversaries, should be held where it actually happened?

Further reading from some excellent links from MLQ3


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