Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tears in the Light: Why Bad History Always Makes Me Cry

This newsletter is Steve’s reaction to the ongoing remembrance of the 68th anniversary of the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, his recent reading of a newspaper article and Elizabeth Norman’s “We Band of Angels,” and his subsequent viewing of the movie “So Proudly We Hail.”

Before we moved to Corregidor we lived in Lansing, Michigan for over 25 years. Michigan State University (MSU) is located right next door in the city of Ann Arbor. MSU won the national basketball championship in the mid-1980’s behind its star, Michael Jordan. Their coach was Jed Heathcote. He never won a head-to-head game against Bobby Knight at Illinois.

Some of you are probably asking, “So what?” Others of you are saying, “WHAT????” You see, the preceding paragraph is loaded with errors. Most of you failed to notice any of them. You just expected that we would never print things that weren’t true, that we’d be sure to check our facts, or that, since we claimed to have lived in Lansing, what we said could be taken as gospel. But others of you would know immediately that MSU is in East Lansing, that they won the national championship in 1979, that their star was Magic Johnson, and that Judd (not Jed) Heathcote won and lost many games against Bobby Knight, who coached at Indiana University. Some of you sports followers were probably ready to write letters saying I didn’t know what the heck I was talking about.

So I ask, why do we take our sports so seriously, yet casually tolerate blatant errors and sloppy fact-checking in historical books and movies?

The misinformation about the war here in the Philippines never ceases to amaze and dishearten me. I have commented so often about errors in the bestseller, “Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath,” that someone suggested I write a book called, “Tears in the Light: Why Bad History Always Makes Me Cry.” For example, I pointed out that the endnote on the top of page 414 in “Tears in the Darkness” which states, “…perhaps as many as 2,500 Filipinos were killed or died on the death march…” grossly understates the heavily researched and accepted range of 5-10,000, and perhaps represents an attempt to paint the Japanese in a slightly kinder light.

Unfortunately, exaggerations in the other direction are also common. For example, in an article in the Manila Bulletin earlier this month, writer Brian B. Garcia states that “54,000 reached the concentration camp,” a reasonable figure. But then he continues, “In the end, 50,000 more men lost their lives during the four-month stay at Camp O’Donnell. Only one out of thirteen made it out alive.” This is beyond unreasonable, it is preposterous. In reality, somewhat more than 2,000 Americans died during the period including the DM and their six-to-eight-week stay at Camp O’Donnell, while about 29,000 Filipinos lost their lives during the DM or during their seven (not four) months at O’Donnell. So, of the approximately 76,000 who started the DM, roughly 45,000 soldiers either escaped along the DM or left O’Donnell alive, more than 10 times the 4,000 that Garcia claims. To grossly overstate the atrocities does as much injustice to history as to understate them. Admittedly, the exact numbers will always be in dispute, but writers ought to stick to the accepted ranges rather than rewrite history. Or they had better be able to show reliable documentation before challenging or overturning 65 years of scholarship and research.

In 1999 Elizabeth Norman (who with her husband co-wrote “Tears in the Darkness” ten years later) wrote “We Band of Angels.” In it, Norman discusses the making of the movie, “So Proudly We Hail,” the aim of which, she says, “was to tell the story of the battle for the Philippines through the eyes of the nurses who served there.” It focuses on the female American nurses who served on Bataan and Corregidor. Some were evacuated by submarine in the last days before Corregidor fell, and the movie was filmed as if seen through their eyes. One evacuee, Eunice Hatchitt, was assigned as a technical consultant to the director and screen writer. Norman goes on to state that the movie was a great hit, supposedly accurate, but in fact was “storytelling.” Including stars Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, and Veronica Lake, the movie was a smashing success. Critics went wild, and audiences filled the theaters. But the nurses whom the movie portrayed, according to Norman, “were embarrassed.” You see, the movie was made and released DURING the war, when most of these nurses were still POWs in internment camps. This was serious business. After the war, many of them had a hard time forgiving Hatchitt, despite the fact, according to Norman, that she had done her best to have their story told accurately.

Made curious by this introduction to the movie, I watched “So Proudly We Hail” this week. Although I caught a few inaccuracies within the story, I’m sure that I was nowhere near as sensitive to the subject matter as were the nurses who saw the movie after the war, nor did I spot nearly the problems that they would have noticed. Ms. Norman seems to be making the point – she uses five pages for this topic alone – that the portrayal was unfair to the nurses. She essentially makes an argument for historical accuracy in movies.

Whenever I read books or see movies about Bataan and Corregidor, I am as sensitive about accuracy as the nurses who were critical of “So Proudly We Hail.” Some of you may ask, “Why do you get your shorts in a wringer about such matters?” I love, and more importantly, respect history – especially as it relates to WW II in the Philippines. Over the past several years we’ve had the privilege of meeting many survivors, including Malcolm Amos, Dick Francies, Everett Reamer, Chuck Towne, Frank Stecklein, Ray Makepeace, as well as a host of Filipinos. Ray Heimbuch, Tony Bilek, and James Baldassarre are among the thousands we’ve never met, but whose stories are each important and unique. These, like my father, are real men whose stories deserve to be accurately reported and portrayed.

Once something is published it tends to become accepted history. A prime example occurs in William Manchester’s “American Caesar.” On page 291, Manchester states, “On May 6 a terrible silence fell over Corregidor. White flags were raised from every flagstaff that was still standing, and the triumphant Japanese moved their eleven thousand captives to Bataan. The next day the prisoners began the brutal Death March – the long trek northward in which between seven thousand and ten thousand Fil-Americans died of disease, starvation, sadistic beatings, and outright execution.” Today, many books (including, most ironically, “World War II for Dummies” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World War II”) contain this “fact.” In truth, the men who were captured on Corregidor, including my father, DID NOT subsequently participate in the Death March, since it was concluded two weeks before Corregidor surrendered.

Is it wrong for me to hold the Garcias, the Normans, the Manchesters and other writers and historians to the same standard for accuracy that Ms. Norman appeals to in “We Band of Angels?”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Capas National Shrine gets a new monument

On Monday Steve guided for a group which arrived from the province of Cavite in two small bancas. Several of the adults were supporters of a local orphanage, and three boys, orphans, were also among the group. All went well until they was ready to return to Cavite, at which point the Coast Guard informed them that the banceros were in violation of several regulations, including one bancero having arrived without his license, no life jackets on board either boat, and overloading the bancas. The one bancero claimed to have forgotten to bring his license, and both acknowledged that they should have brought the life jackets, but also asserted that in the past they have never been approached by the Coast Guard. (Due to a number of banca accidents in the Philippines in recent months, it appears that the Coast Guard is cracking down on unsafe practices, something that will ultimately save lives.)

After a lengthy discussion, the Coast Guard agreed to let both banceros return home with their boats, but were adamant that the passengers find another way back to Cavite. This meant either renting a large banca from Corregidor at considerable cost, or taking the Sun Cruises ferry to Manila and then finding their way back to the orphanage by bus. They chose the ferry, and as it turned out, we were going to Manila that afternoon so we spent the 75-minute trip visiting with some of them. So be forewarned: if you are coming to Corregidor via banca, make sure that your bancero is in Coast Guard compliance, or you could be stuck in a similar frustrating situation.

The reason that we were going to Manila was to attend the annual Bataan Death March remembrance ceremony at the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac. In the past it has been scheduled soon after the Mount Samat ceremony of April 9, thus taking place while we were still on tour with our Valor Tours group. This year it was moved to the 20th in hope of drawing a larger audience. The shrine is located at the site of Camp O’Donnell, terminus of the DM and the initial prison camp for the 50-55,000 soldiers who survived it.

After an overnight stay in our usual hostel in Malate, we were off to Makati where we joined a distinguished group for the ride to Capas. Edgar (Bubi) Krohn, whom we have featured in the past, rented a 10-passenger van for us. The group included Leslie Murray of the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment, her husband Brian, author Marie Vallejo, retired Doctor of Economics Benito Legarda, Jr., and Elsa, a website designer hard at work on the site for F.A.M.E.

We left Makati at 8:30, hoping to arrive at the shrine before the program’s scheduled start at 11:00. However, traffic was so heavy that we didn’t get out of Metro Manila until 10:00, putting us almost an hour behind the goal. Given the group in the van, it was an enjoyable and interesting ride. Bubi was directing the driver in Tagalog, and talking with Benito in Spanish. Bubi’s first language is German, since his ancestors came to the Philippines from Germany. He says that he also “gets by” in French, and we can vouch for his excellent English.

Leslie had phoned ahead, and since our group included some of the honored guests, everyone at Capas waited patiently for us. We arrived shortly after 11:30, and the ceremony got underway around noon, opening with the playing of the Australian, U.S., and Philippine National Anthems. After the invocation and several introductions, Dr. Rico Jose – a highly reputed historian and professor at the University of the Philippines – gave the keynote talk. He was dressed in period clothing which he described for us, a typical Filipino Scout’s uniform, essentially a one-piece blue denim coverall. Then Dr. Legarda announced and unveiled the new monument dedicated to the Filipino civilians of the three provinces of the DM – Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac – who aided the soldiers along the Death March, at risk to their own lives. Approximately eighty percent of the participants of the DM were Filipinos, and this new marker was dedicated to Filipino civilians. Therefore we found it a bit ironic and sad that most of the 100 or so in attendance were Americans and Australians, many of them members of the Angeles Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2485. We hope that the smaller Filipino contingent was a byproduct of publicity challenges combined with the event taking place on a work-day, and not due to apathy. We were pleased that a number of our friends from the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society in attendance. They came wearing their authentic khaki uniforms, serving as an honor, lending a nice air of formaility to the event.

The two of us have prior experience with lunch at VPF Post 2485, since we always stop there during our trips with Valor Tours. Our sincere thanks go to Bubi Krohn, who treated the group to a tasty though very late lunch. Thanks also to Leslie for her invitation and encouragement to attend in spite of having just gotten back to Corregidor following our tour.

Fortunately for all of us, we seemed to encounter less traffic on our ride back to Manila. We arrived at the hostel about 7 o’clock, much more tired than you’d expect from a day mostly spent sitting. Wednesday morning we returned to Corregidor, with no major events scheduled for a while.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Valor Tours Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Tour 2010

Our nine-day, eight-night tour for Valor Tours began on the day after Easter. The flight arrived at 3:20 AM, so we decided to let Tommy from Rajah Tours, the Filipino company that handles the local logistics, meet our guests at the airport. By the time they got through customs, retrieved their baggage, and made the bus trip to the Manila Hotel, it was about 6:00. Two guests had arrived the afternoon before, so we’d spent some time with Jack and Sue on Sunday. The remaining 10 guests checked into their rooms after Steve’s brief “meet and greet.” We spent the day touring Intramuros – old Manila, literally “within the walls” – and the U.S. Embassy, visited Tesoro’s, a Filipino handicrafts store, and enjoyed dinner at a fine Spanish restaurant back inside the old city walls.

On Tuesday we took the Sun Cruises ferry to Corregidor. We did a typical day tour with Steve guiding. We visited the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor monument, which contains the name of Hortense McKay, sister of Wally and aunt of Patty. In the late afternoon we toured the original hospital, watched the sun set, and then most of the group walked through the hospital within Malinta Tunnel. Wednesday we took a two-hour banca ride around the fortified islands of Manila Bay: Carabao (Fort Frank), El Fraile (Fort Drum, the concrete battleship), Caballo (Fort Hughes), and Corregidor (Fort Mills). We were on-board El Corr(egidor) II, a 48-passenger banca, providing safe and dry travel.

Thursday morning we boarded El Corr II for the 20-minute ride to Camaya point, where Tommy met us with the big bus. We drove from Mariveles to Balanga, stopping at particular kilometer markers of the Bataan Death March. We arrived during a brief ceremony at the park at km0, the traditional start of the DM in Mariveles. Karen, the daughter of a DM survivor, spoke briefly to the assembled veterans and townspeople. Wally also made a few remarks about his sister’s experiences working with Filipino nurses. At km7, aka Little Baguio, Karen was overcome with emotions, knowing that her father, with the 228 Signal Corps, had been at that spot around the time of the surrender. (Steve’s father was at Little Baguio when war began four months prior.) After visiting the site of General King’s surrender of Bataan at Balanga Elementary School, and then lunch, we proceeded to Montemar Beach Resort along the secondary route of the DM, which ran from Bagac on the west coast to Pilar on the east, where the two routes merged. We stopped at three markers, those dedicated to Wally’s sister and the commander and men of the 194th Tank Battalion, Company A, from the Brainerd, Minnesota, area.

Friday we attended the Araw ng Kagitingan, or Day of Valor, at Mount Samat National Shrine. Our group was warmly greeted by members of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, dressed in period uniforms, who set up chairs for us near the stage. President Arroyo was out of the country, so the Philippine Vice President was the featured speaker. Also speaking were the Japanese Ambassador and the U.S. Charge d’Affairs Leslie Bassett, who was standing in for Kristie Kenney’s successor, the newly confirmed Ambassador Thomas. We then drove to Subic Bay, visiting the Hellships memorial. Sue, whose father died on the Brazil Maru two days before reaching Japan, having survived the sinkings of the Oryoku and Enoura Marus, presented a wreath in honor of her father and all who perished. We later attended a demonstration at the Jungle Environmental Survival Training (JEST) center.

On Saturday we drove to Angeles City, the home of Clark Field. On the way we stopped at the San Fernando train station where many of the DM men were put into rail cars for the torturous four-hour trip to Capas, and San Guillermo Church, which was inundated by lahar flows after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption of 1991. Lunch was the traditional filet mignon at the Angeles VFW. In the afternoon we visited the Clark Museum at Fort Stotsenberg. The buffet dinner at the Holiday Inn was spectacular, with standing rib roast, roast pork with a cherry sauce, a hundred other selections, and deserts galore. It was very hard not to stuff ourselves. Okay, we actually did stuff ourselves, but we all know that calories don’t count on tour.

Sunday we repeated the buffet experience, this time for breakfast. We added a new stop: the Bamban Museum. It is very simple, consisting mostly of photographs of local war history, most notably the American retaking of the area from the Japanese in 1945. We stopped at the Philippine Bataan Death March memorial, then the Capas train station where the surviving POWs resumed walking to Camp O’Donnell. We stopped at the markers for Malcolm Amos (km 110) and Dick Francies (km 112) and many of us walked the final kilometer to Camp O’Donnell, where Karen’s father was interned for about six weeks. After a flat tire change, thanks to momentous effort by driver Emil and photographer OG, on we went to our hotel in Cabanatuan City.

Monday morning we visited the memorial at the site of Cabanatuan POW Camp, where the fathers of Sue, Karen, and Steve spent time during the war. We then drove to Manila where we visited the University of Santo Tomas, location of a civilian internment camp. Jean, one of our guests and the oldest at 88, was an army nurse who was here at the end of the war. She couldn’t recognize the city area around Santo Tomas, which had been basically leveled during the liberation of Manila. Now it is one building after the other, the exception being the grassy plaza on the UST campus and the main building, which Jean could clearly remember. Maita of the museum staff gave us a half-hour talk about the internment camp. Next, we walked down an alley to see the entrance to the Manila City Jail, another POW camp known as Bilibid.

Tuesday, our final day together, we visited the American Cemetery in Manila. Since Sue’s father was lost at sea, his name is on the Wall of the Missing. It is the largest American cemetery outside of the United States. Until our aging veterans began dying in large numbers, there were more WW II vets buried here than anywhere else in the world. The tour ended at noon, with Sue and her husband going back to Hawaii. Jean and her friend Darlene went on to Thailand, while the others left together early in the evening to fly back to San Francisco.

This is our fifth tour to host in four years for Valor Tours, and once again we really enjoyed it. Every indication from our guests was that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well. Many questions were answered for the POWs’ descendants in the group, and all appreciated the opportunity to be in the places where the veterans had been. We invite you to consider joining us – if not next year, begin thinking about 2012, when we will be hosting the 70th Anniversary tour commemorating the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Readers tell us what to do with a toilet seat

We are currently hosting 12 Americans for Valor Tours and are visiting World War II sites. We plan to give a tour summary next week. So here are some suggestions for using toilet seats.

From Danny R:
There were no toilet seats in many places in the Middle East, like the Dubai Airport.

(We did not mean to imply that the Philippines is the only place this occurs, just that it is rarely if ever observed in the U.S. However, after our friends in the U.S. read the following comments about all of the cool uses there are for used toilet seats, we hope we aren’t responsible for a run on them there as well. Read on!)
From Jeff L:
1. Picture frame (especially as a joke)
2. Target for bean bag or ball toss
3. International symbol on a sign indicating where restrooms are located
4. Necklace worn as part of a costume
From Linda L:
Decorate the seat by gluing beads, shells, what have you and put a picture in the middle. Hang it on the wall. :)
From Boyet V:
How about using it as a picture frame?
From Peter P:
1. For the aged and therefore incontinent, it is more comfortable than a mere hole cut in a seat to cut the hole and place a toilet seat over it. These folks have to spend a lot of time thus seated.
2. The more colorful seats can be used to fabricate shade hats. Amazing what a few feathers and flowers can do for a toilet seat. Excellent for use at weddings and funerals.
3. I hear that rednecks often use these as Frisbees and actually have toilet seat-throwing competitions.
4. These can also be used on bancas if mounted securely, enabling you to take care of your personal needs without risk of falling into the sea.
From Bill S:
Life preservers on a banca! Hang them along the outside :-)
From Jerry L:
As for those toilet about using them as the yoke portion of a harness for goats to haul small carts?
From Virginia R:
You can use it as frame for an oval mirror, or frame for a painting. You can repaint it and make it look like gilded gold or silver.

Re the twin bananas, yes, we have them all the time. Folks used to say that if you are pregnant, and you eat twin bananas, you are bound to have twin babies. LOL. Btw, I think we have about 200 varieties of bananas. And you may even get to see twin avocados later. (Several of our readers mentioned the folklore of bearing twins if you eat twin bananas.)
From Tess T:
I couldn't think of any other use for a toilet seat but as a toilet seat. It's quite ridiculous to use it for something else. Bwa ha ha ha.
Twin bananas are not unusual in the Philippines. In the US, the bananas that are imported go through rigid quality control so the "unusuals" do not make it to shore. There is even a variety of banana that is so full of seeds, we used to have seed spitting contests because there were so much seeds in a banana.
From Aida R:
Regarding your toilet seat project?? Maybe you could make a good old bench using the toilet seat to comfortably fit the butt or to rest your tired neck, and use it on top of the sink to wash Steve’s dusty hair.
From Tomas A:
Last week we had to replace a whole unit of a toilet. Although the flushing mechanism was flawless, there was something in the design which we did not like. We did not want to just throw away a toilet in good working condition, so we asked friends and relatives if they could use such a toilet. There was one taker. She said that she would take out the toilet seat cover and the toilet seat, making the toilet sans toilet seat and cover. I was taken aback and asked why she would do that. Her answer was that the toilet seat was in the way-can you believe that? I was speechless. So then I told her to do whatever suits her.
From Penny J:
Here is my "crazy" suggestion for the toilet seats---use them as picture frames. (Believe it or not I used one as a picture frame once, of course for a joke.)
From John C:
I only use for old toilet seats I can think of is for colonial stocks. They could be decorative as well!
From Eli S:
On toilet seats, how about making it as a substitute for basketball rings? In the provinces where basketball courts are sometimes located far from their backyards, teenagers usually make do with anything that they could shoot the ball into like round-bottomless tin cans nailed in tree branches (that's how desperate they are sometimes). Another possibility is by tying a piece of rope at opposite ends of the seat and tying the other ends of the rope around a tree branch and presto, the kids will have a unique kind of a swing. Also, if say one hundred seats are tied together (five by twenty seats) and laid flat on the ground or hanged against a triangular structure, the kids will have some interesting segments of an obstacle course.

From Wes S:
You can use the toilet seats for “hillbilly horseshoes”!
And last, a couple of our own ideas:

1. As a variation of the horseshoes suggestion using the open-ended type of seat, the closed type would work for ring-toss games.
2. A mirror frame as a joke-gift for someone with a very good sense of humor, of course.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We invite you to walk the Death March route

The question is, would you be interested in walking the complete route of the Bataan Death March with us some day?

In early March we walked from Mariveles to Cabcaben, the first 15 kilometers of the primary Bataan Death March route. Last Friday we walked the next 25 km, from Cabcaben to Pilar. The DM route is sometimes along the National Highway, but the old road often passed further to the east, so to follow the actual route we had to stay on the parts that were labeled as the Old National Road. This takes you through Cabcaben, Limay, Orion, and Pilar, towns you would otherwise bypass nowadays.

Going between Corregidor and Bataan meant once again taking banca rides. There was a little more excitement than usual. First, the winds were stronger than typical, causing higher than usual waves. Second, we passed very near ocean freighters in both directions. These ships create two very high parallel wake waves from each side of the bow, probably at least six feet high, having a single trough maybe 10 feet deep between them. Going toward Cabcaben meant heading into the winds and waves, so the first large pair of waves hit us rather hard, and we passed through them very quickly. The second pair of waves was heading in the other direction, and once we caught up to them it took a while to climb the first one, and then slide down it. Once we were in the deep trough, we had to reach just the right speed to climb the second crest, then speed up to outrun it. We were grateful for Mang Emilio, whom we have mentioned before, who speaks very little English and is mostly deaf, but is very experienced in crossing Manila Bay in his small double-outrigger. On the return trip, it at first appeared that we would cross in front of a freighter. Then it became apparent that we were heading for a direct collision and the ship warned us twice with its fog horn to back off, which Mang Emilio decided to do, literally at the last minute.

Getting back to the Death March, walking 25 km in one day in late March in the Philippines is not an easy task. Again, we want to emphasize that there is no comparison between us –well fed, well watered, fit and healthy – and what the Japanese put the sick and starving Filipinos and Americans through 68 years ago. Nonetheless you can only get somewhat of an appreciation by actually doing it. The heat, the humidity, the hills, the stagnant creeks and rice paddy channels, the surroundings, these are things that in combination can only be experienced in this one place on earth. Our goal is to eventually walk the entire distance to Capas National Shrine, formerly Camp O’Donnell. We also want to include the secondary route, which goes from Bagac in the west to Pilar in the east of Bataan.

Our goals are twofold. First, we just want to do it. Second, we want to scout the route to look for such things as water stops, restroom availability, restaurants, and sleeping accommodations should the need or desire arise to accomplish the entire DM in one continuous trek.

We would like to find out if there is any interest in an actual Death March hiking tour. The goal would be to hike from Mariveles to Camp O’Donnell on the same roads as the DM took place. We know that a few of our readers are DM survivors, and at their ages there is no way they will ever repeat their feat in this lifetime. But a great many more of our readers are descendants or acquaintances who might have thought of what it must have been like, and maybe even thought about giving it a try. There are many considerations, including whether you are in good enough shape to walk 70 miles in five or so days in tropical conditions. There may be some who would like to walk as much as possible, but might need occasional rides. A “sag wagon” would cover this need, as well as first aid provisions and water supply.

In any case, before we spend a lot of time and energy planning for something that may never happen, we need to know if there is an interest. If so, are you interested in just walking the DM? If you have never been to the Philippines, you probably would want to spend a couple of days in Manila and on Corregidor, so let us know that as well.

For the fourth year in a row, we will be escorting Valor Tours’ Ghost Soldiers of Bataan & Hellships Memorial Tour, which begins next Monday and lasts nine days. We have 13 guests, including two WW II vets and two whose fathers were POWs here. It is too late to sign up for this year’s tour, but we highly recommend that you consider it in the future. The year 2012 will be the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor, and if we have enough interest, who knows, there could be two tours, one in April for Bataan and another in May for Corregidor.

We are disappointed that this year’s tour will not include Harold “Malcolm” Amos, who has been with us the last four years, and whom Steve first met in 2002. Malcolm, who was rescued in the “Great Raid” at Cabanatuan, had to choose between the tour and the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Convention. This year’s convention is being held at the same time as our tour, which is always scheduled to include the actual anniversary dates of the beginning of the Death March. We can’t blame Malcolm for wanting to spend time with his remaining few survivor friends, and hope that maybe we can see him again next year. We are including a picture of Malcolm from last year, taken at his Death March marker, which is located only two kilometers from the entrance to the infamous Camp O’Donnell.

P.S. Today, April 1, is Marcia’s birthday (no fooling). To see the tribute to my wife of 37 years that I wrote last April, see Marcia’s email is