Thursday, April 9, 2015

Valor Tours Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Day 4 Mount Samat and the Day of Valor


On Day 4 of the Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Tour we attended the Araw ng Kagitingan, or Day of Valor, on the 73rd Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan (coincidentally the 150th Anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender which ended America's Civil War.)

We wish to sincerely thank those in charge of the ceremony, as they made us Americans feel very welcomed on this, the ninth consecutive year that we have escorted American guests to the ceremony on behalf of Valor Tours of San Francisco.

On the way we passed these rice field workers:

Day of Valor preliminaries, which included a wreath laying that takes place out of sight of most people on the Altar of Valor.  Wreaths were presented by the Japanese and U.S. ambassadors and the president of the Philippines.

Three of our women were honored with seats on the grandstand.  In the back row you can see Katherine talking with Blythe, and Jasmine has the large sunglasses.

Steve found Ronel Francisco of the Philippine Coast Guard, formerly stationed on Corregidor.

Finally, President Aquino and the other dignitaries enter and the key speeches are delivered.

Speeches over, we await U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who is looking forward to meeting our group.  Besides embassy people, we saw very few other Americans in the audience.

Ambassador Goldberg greets our guests, including John, whose brother survived the Death March only to die soon after in the Japanese prison camp at Cabanatuan, and Katherine, whose father was interned at Santo Tomas in Manila.

We stay around a bit longer.  Several of our guests were interviewed for television, radio, and newspapers, including Blythe, whose father survived the Death March and was rescued in the "Great Raid" at Cabanatuan in 1945.

The director of the American veterans clinic with Marcia.

Out guide, Tommy, in the enormous traffic jam trying to return the bus to the waiting guests.

John getting back on the bus.

The very crowded road going back down the mountain.

There are a couple of historic markers on the road to Bagac.

Carabao (water buffalo) on the way back to our beach resort.

Now it's time for lunch, and then plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the Montemar Beach Resort on the South China Sea.

Why not end this with a beautiful hibiscus (Tagalog: gumamela) blossom?

Be with us tomorrow, we head to Subic Bay.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock

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