Rolling Thunder again sponsors Bataan Death March memorial ride
The Bataan Death March in the Philippines began on May 9, 1942, but according to Ken White, president of Chapter 5 of Rolling Thunder of Pennsylvania, few people know the significance of the event.
“In our opinion, it was the most egregious prisoner of war event in modern history,” White said. “And it is just forgotten.”
That is why the organization will again sponsor a five-hour, 120-mile circle from Uniontown on Saturday, visiting war memorials along the way and planting U.S. and POW flags. Anyone wishing to participate, whether on a motorcycle or in a car, should gather at American Legion Post 51, on Route 40, on the east side of Uniontown, between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. The riders are to leave at 11 a.m.
Following the event, riders are to meet at the Knights of Columbus on Gallatin Avenue in Uniontown for refreshments.
The history of the march shocked the nation after the atrocities were revealed.
After being ordered to surrender by their officers, 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and U.S. soldiers were sent on a forced march of 65 miles by the Imperial Japanese Army. During the march, somewhere between 2,500 and 10,000 Filipino and 100 to 600 U.S. POWs died before they reached Camp O'Donnell. Many were starved to death, bayonetted or beheaded by the Japanese. No medical help was provided by the Japanese.
The prisoners continued to die at the rate of 35 to 50 per day in captivity.
After the war, the survivors came home and found they were berated because they surrendered, according to White.
“But they were ordered to surrender by their officers,” White said. “They would have fought to the last man.”
White said there are no known survivors of the march in the area, the last one having died about two years ago. The Rolling Thunder organization escorted the body to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.
Only one other memorial is celebrated in the U.S., in New Mexico.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville Area students’ Mustache Clubs raise thousands for charity, research
- Building damaged, no injuries after Fayette recycling center fire
- South Connellsville Mayor Casini to stand trial in gun theft
- Connellsville fundraiser for girl, 8, adds ‘run at your convenience’ virtual component
- Father-and-son blacksmiths still firing up forge in Farmington
- Mill Run woman sentenced in daughter’s death
- Defense attorney in Connellsville shooting challenges account of officer who resigned while under investigation
- Zimmerlink seeking 4th term in Fayette
- Connellsville-area group shares photos, stories, legacy
- Dormant Connellsville community committee donates $3.7K
- Seton Hill student to run for Connellsville Council