Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor)

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Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) | Lahi

Most veterans living today were just a teenager forced to fight in the war and fight for our freedom. If you know something, you’re lucky. Do not forget to thank these war veterans.

Araw ng Kagitingan (day of valor) commemorates the heroism of Filipino and American soldiers at the Battle of Bataan. The Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island were the only remaining Allied strongholds in Southeast Asia. Their relentless fighting delayed the Japanese invasion over the Pacific until the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942. Approximately 76,000 Allied soldiers surrendered, the largest in both American and Philippine military histories. These prisoners of war were then forced into the 140-km Death March.

Dambana ng Kagitingan was erected atop Mt. Samat to memorialize the heroic stand of Filipino and American soldiers who fought for three months at the Bataan Peninsula. The shrine stands on the site where some of the fiercest battles were fought. The Memorial Cross is a remembrance of the soldiers who fought and lost their lives in these battles to defend the Philippines.

Karamihan sa mga beteranong buhay pa ngayon, teenager lang nung napilitan sumabak sa giyera at ipaglaban ang ating kalayaan. Kung may kilala ka, ang swerte mo. ‘Wag mo sana kalimutan na magpasalamat.

Today, April 9, 2019, is the 77th anniversary of the fall of Bataan. About 75,000 prisoners of war, 65,000 Filipinos, and 10,000 American soldiers marched at least  65 miles from Bataan to Camp O’Donnel in Capaz, Tarlac without rest, food, or water.

On the dawn of April 9, 1942, Major General Edward P. King, commander of the Bataan forces,  was forced to surrender together with his men when the Filipino and American soldiers could no longer defend the Bataan peninsula from the invasion of Japanese troops.

The surrendered Filipino-American forces were forced at gunpoint to march under the tropical hot sun from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, and then taken by rail to Camp O’Donnel in Tarlac. Those who could not make it because of physical weakness were shot or bayoneted to death.

The event was indeed so inhuman that it was called the “Death March” and marked the beginning of the total Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during the Second World War.

Despite the travails of defeat, most of the captured soldiers stood strong and heroes emerged from the event. The surrender was only temporary.

Eventually, American and Filipino liberation forces retook the Bataan peninsula on February 8, 1945.

The nation marks “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor) on April 9 of every year to highlight the valor and heroism of the Filipino and American soldiers who fought in the Philippines during World War II.

Formerly called “Bataan Day” or “Fall of Bataan,” the celebration was changed to “Day of Valor” and made a national public holiday under Letter of Instruction No. 1087 issued on November 26, 1980, by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Executive Order No. 203, dated June 30, 1987, further declared April 9 of each year as “Araw Ng Kagitingan” to pay tribute to the heroes of Bataan, Corregidor, and Bessang Pass. (kahimyang)

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