The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






Liberty and Justice for How Many?

Bizarre, Fascinating, and Wacky World War I & ll Secrets.

by Cecil Owen

Warning! Some of the material contained in this story may be too graphic to be read by some supersensitive individuals.

An American soldier staggered down the highway completely exhausted. He was bare headed and without shoes, the hot tropical sun had taken its toll. He had also been without food and water all day long. Suddenly he saw a small can of water by the roadside. Before he could take a sip to cool his parched tongue, a rifle butt came crashing down upon his head. He was beaten into a bloody pulp and then bayoneted in the stomach. He was left sprawling in a ditch by the roadside. A Filipino soldier that tried to give him water, was instantly beheaded.

The date is April 11, 1942 and the place is the southern tip of Luzon, called the Bataan Peninsula. Luzon is one of the largest islands in the Philippine island chain. This is where the nightmare journey called "The Bataan Death March" began. It was a six day march that covered only sixty miles. However, it was so barbaric and cruel that it will defy your imagination. But this Death March did take place, and many of the atrocities that took place, I cannot write about. For they are so brutal that the average reader would not believe that they could happen.

Cecil Owen

Our soldiers (American and Filipino) were under command of General Douglas MacArthur. He told them, never surrender, but fight to the last man! Now after several months of hard fighting, every one was in very bad shape. They were starving because every morsel of food was gone. Even the army horses and pack mules had been consumed. Large reptiles and even larger snakes had been turned into hamburger meat. And for greens, leaves from some of the trees were picked.  All of the medical supplies were exhausted, therefore the wounded could not be properly treated. Finally, to make matters worse, ammunition was almost gone, but still we stubbornly held out!

Then came the very disturbing news, General Douglas MacArthur was sent to Australia. He was ordered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to leave his men. So he left but only under protest and uttered his famous words ..."I shall return"! Next came the most devastating message of all, again from the President of the United States of America. "There will be no help coming from any source, you are completely on your own"!

Under these adverse circumstances, the order to surrender was given by Lt. General Jonathan Wainwright. He was given command of our troops by General MacArthur just before he left. The Japanese General Masaharu Humma had promised humane

treatment if we surrendered. Some of the American and Filipino soldiers refused to obey this order and fled to the jungle. (They were indeed the lucky ones!)

Brutality in war is as old as war itself. The Bataan Death March is recorded in the history books of World War ll, as one of the worst. It was sustained atrocity whose savagery revealed the true character of the Japanese Military Machine! Seventy-six thousand (76,000) prisoners of war (twelve thousand (12,000) American and sixty-four thousand (64,000) Filipino

Filipinos Being Executed
by Decapitation
(James Litton)

prisoners of war began this march, but only fifty-four thousand (54,000) reached the end alive! That is almost twenty-two thousand (22,000) men who perished on only a sixty mile march. A few managed to escape into the jungle and join the ones who had refused to surrender.

The Philippine islands was a United States Territory, so President Roosevelt ordered the Filipino soldiers to fight with our American soldiers. Therefore, two hundred thousand (200,000) Filipino soldiers fought the Japanese in the Pacific War Theatre (over one half of these were killed). One Filipino soldier who survived the infamous Bataan Death March is Mr. Segundo Gacuray! He

now lives in the United States, along with thirty thousand other Filipino veterans. They have moved here to fight for their rights as World War ll Combat Veterans! Would you believe that soon after the war was over, the United States Congress passed a bill called "The Rescission Act." This bill stripped the Filipino veterans of  their benefits under the G.I. Bill. Most of the Filipino veterans living here, cannot bring their families because of severe restrictive immigration policies. Many of them cannot work, so they survive on welfare. Out of sixty-six (66) Allied countries of World War ll, only the Filipino veterans have been denied their benefits guaranteed under the G.I. bill!

Here are just a few of the Filipino Combat Veterans of World War ll, living in the United States:

Mr. Eugenio Espero, he was severely injured by a land mine, confined to a wheel chair, he received three Purple Hearts.

Mr. Melecio Cayad, he lost one arm during a scouting mission.

Mr. Alejandro Ramas, he was captured and severely tortured.

]Mr. Zosimo Bocade, he was the lone survivor of his platoon.

Mr. Pablo Dungo, he rescued a platoon of Filipino soldiers.

Mr. Magdelano Duenis, he helped ten American soldiers escape from a prisoner of war camp. They are so grateful that every year he is sent a letter with money enclosed.

Mr. Buctano Humbria, he moved here from Manila. Unable to work, he collects soda pop cans to help out.

The Rescission Act should have been repealed many, many years ago. Every year since 1993, Equity Bills for Military Benefits and Recognition have been introduced in Congress. The Filipino Veterans Equity Act only needed nine more votes to pass in 1998. That is the nearest it has ever come to passing!

What is wrong with Congress and what is wrong with the rest of our World War ll Veterans? Why will they not get behind this bill and see that it is passed into law?