Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Neil Ferrer (in barong Tagalog) joins U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, Brigadier General Steven McLaughlin, Rear Admiral Jonathan Yuen, and Mexican Consul General in San Francisco Remedios Gomez Arnau in a wreath-throwing ceremony aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda, California, in honor of Filipino and American war veterans who died during the Second World War. (San Francisco PCG photo)
ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA, USA – Aboard one of the U.S. warships that took part in the liberation of the Philippines during World War II, the Filipino American community in the San Francisco Bay Area solemnly marked the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the Bataan Death March on 10 April 2022 at the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California.
Organized by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, the “Remembrance and Reconciliation” Memorial Ceremony honored the Filipino and American prisoners of war who perished and survived the Bataan Death March, as well as the Allied casualties of the Japanese hell ships Oryoku Maru and Enoura Maru.
In his remarks, Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Neil Ferrer said that the Fall of Bataan 80th anniversary memorial, which is commemorated in the Philippines as Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor, marks “an important milestone in the shared history between the Philippines and the United States.”
On 9 April 1942, officials in command of Bataan Peninsula, where Filipino and American forces maintained the main Philippine resistance against the invading forces, formally surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army. It was followed by the Bataan Death March, the forcible transfer of almost 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers from Mariveles, Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac. Almost 20,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war died of starvation, disease and abuse during the 70-mile-long march.
“Bataan would make its way to the collective consciousness of Filipinos and Americans during the war and in the post-war years,” Consul General Ferrer said, adding that Filipino resistance fighters as well as the Philippine government in exile in the United States promoted “The Fighting Filipinos” poster on the Fall of Bataan’s first anniversary, to rally Allied support for Philippine liberation.
“Americans also commemorated Bataan—Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur’s command aircraft was named the Bataan, same with a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which was the first American vessel named after a World War II battle,” the Philippine Consul General said.
During the memorial, Consul General Ferrer addressed the descendants of Filipino and American World War II veterans in attendance: “They may be your fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, brothers or uncles, but to the rest of us, they are our heroes. Their hardships and sacrifices paved the way for the peace and liberties that we now enjoy today. Rest assured that the legacy of your forebears will never be diminished nor forgotten by future generations of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.”
Consul General Ferrer also invited the audience to visit the “Remember Bataan” Exhibit, which is open to the public at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco through 30 April 2022. The exhibit is a joint project by the Consulate, the Filipino American Arts Exposition, the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, and the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.
Following the memorial, Consul General Ferrer joined U.S. Coast Guard Commander for the Pacific Area and Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, Brigadier General Steven McLaughlin, Rear Admiral Jonathan Yuen, and Mexican Consul General in San Francisco Remedios Gomez Arnau in a wreath-throwing ceremony aboard the USS Hornet, to pay homage to all Filipino and American war veterans.
Through memorials and special projects with the Filipino American community in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the Consulate hopes to contribute in keeping the memory and legacy of Filipino World War II veterans alive for future generations of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.
Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Neil Ferrer delivers his remarks at “Remembrance and Reconciliation”, the Fall of Bataan and Bataan Death March 80th anniversary memorial organized by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society at the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California. (San Francisco PCG photos)