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21 city war veterans recall ‘Fall of Bataan’
Dina O. Cardano
Life, 4-13-2014

Twenty-one war veterans inched their way to their park along Harrison Road last Wednesday for the annual observance of Araw ng Kagitingan marking the Fall of Bataan to invading Japanese forces on April 9, 1942.

The war heroes were represented by members of the 66th Infantry Regiment of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) who, side by side with the American forces, liberated Baguio on April 27, 1945, members of the USAFIP-NL and other veterans’ groups, and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars under the Armed Forces of the United States.

They were joined by students, city officials, members of the Women’s Auxiliary of the 66th, widows, children, and grandchildren of the veterans in the annual gathering marked by wreath-laying and messages from Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. and Acting Mayor Daniel Fariñas.

The messages were summed up by Sherilyn Sabling of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office who said the rites were observed to remind the present generation of the hardships and struggles of the veterans and to inspire the younger generation.

The Philippine Military Academy contingent set the tone for the occasion with the posting of colors, offering of the 21-gun salute, providing the ruffles, taps and flourishes and assisting in the floral offering.

So did the speech choir of the Baguio City National High School which, under the direction of teachers Ann Garcia and Julia Beligan, revived the classic broadcast piece on the Fall of Bataan which was written by then Lt. Salvador Lopez and read by then Lt. Norman Reyes over the Voice of Freedom radio evening of April 9, 1942 from inside the Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor. 

Col. Napoleon Gojo and fellow veteran Alberto Malote Bugtong, commander and vice commander, respectively, of the USAFIP-NL, Willy Totanes, Arthur Gongon and Filipinas Ramones of the VFW, did the offering of wreaths.

They were followed by children, boy and girl scouts, war widows and the heroes’ descendants who laid flowers of all sizes and colors at the foot of the marble pylon infront of the Wall of Heroes.

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