Friday, April 12, 2013
CAPAS, Tarlac, April 12, 2013-Tarlac Governor Victor Yap will spearhead on Wednesday the remembrance ceremony for the Filipino and American soldiers who were part of the 1942 Death March in Capas National Shrine, Tarlac.
Yap will offer a wreath then observe a moment of silence as a World War II veteran and a high school student lead the tolling of bell.
This will be followed by the awarding of recognitions to Belino Alumno (posthumous), Esteban Esco, Raymundo Gadgad, Alberto Bugtong, Robert Bellasi, and Santos Fianza.
According to historical accounts, around 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers were forcibly marched by the Japanese troops for five to six days with no food and a single sip of water.
An estimated 10,000 of these soldiers failed to reach their prison camp in Capas alive.
The camp was turned over by the Clark Air Base Military Reservation to the Philippine Government on April 9, 1982.
Former President Corazon Aquino proclaimed it as Capas National Shrine on December 7, 1991.
The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland where the Bataan Death March ended.
35 hectares of land have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the deceased at the camp and to promote environmental consciousness.
On April 9, 2003, a new memorial wall and obelisk was unveiled.
The 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former internment camp.
It is surrounded by a black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos and Americans known to have died at the location.
On the three large wall segments that almost encircle the obelisk, there are statistics about the total numbers of prisoners and deaths together with poems for peace.
“Paggunita sa Capas” serves as one of the highlights of the annual commemoration of Philippine Veterans Week.
This year’s observance is guided by the theme “Ang Beterano: Sigla at Inspirasyon ng Kabataan Tungo sa Tuwid na Daan.”
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