Commemorating the 70th anniversaries of the defense of the Philippines,
the Bataan Death March, and the fall of Corregidor
commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Philippines, a series
of events were held in Washington DC on April 24 and 25.
who fought in the defense of the Philippines
POWs of Imperial Japan. The history of these survivors of jungle warfare,
torture, abuse, starvation, and slave labor and of their success in
reconciling with the Japanese is a timeless inspiration.
Former POWs of the Japanese who participated in the events
Lester Tenney, 92
Joseph Alexander, 85
Mr. Don Versaw, 90
K. Towery. 89
Tour of the
National Guard Memorial Museum and
luncheon hosted by the National Guard Association of the United States
Walking to the National Guard Memorial Museum
Deputy Director, National Guard Educational Foundation, welcomed the group.
Many POWs, including Dr. Tenney, had been members of National Guard before
Dr. and Mrs. Tenney with
Acting Asst Sec of Defense for Reserve Affairs
National World War II Memorial,
Bataan and Corregidor Stone
(The wreath was donated by the American Legion.)
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld gave the invocation
Patriot Guard joined
Commemorating Bataan and Corregidor - Wreath Laying April 2012
Something like this
restores your faith in human kind.
This year, we had more
teenagers when I’m wearing this cap, who come up to me and say, “Thank you
for your service.”
We want to be remembered
as being true Americans who were willing to do anything for their country.
Meeting with Ambassador of Japan
The group visited Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki at the Japanese Embassy.
Former POWs expressed their gratitude for the Ambassador's support for
the POW issue in the last few years that resulted in the Japanese
government's two successful POW invitation programs in 2010 and
Official picture of the group in the office of Japanese Ambassador Ichiro
Included in the picture are Mrs. Tenney, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Olive Rosen
whose late husband Col. Melvin Rosen was a Bataan Death March survivor, Mrs.
Laura Gardonyi, granddaughter of POW Lt. Cmdr. Ernest Marion Wade, USN, MC,
Ms. Mindy Kotler of Asia Policy Point who organized the 70th anniversary
events, Ms. Kinue Tokudome of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, and interns at Asia
Policy Point. )
Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell
The meeting was encouraging and positive. Secretary Campbell, with whom Dr.
Lester Tenney has been working toward an honorable resolution of the POW
issue, had every senior Japan official in the Department at the meeting. He
stated that the POW issue was one of his priorities.
Commemoration Dinner Hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars
The dinner was held at the Army and Navy Club.
Supporters of the events, including US government officials and several
descendants of POWs, joined the dinner.
Mr. Joe Davis, head of
Public Affairs for the VFW who was host of the dinner,
gave welcome remarks
Mr. Dennis Halpin, professional Staff of the House Foreign Affairs
joined Lester and Betty Tenney, Mrs. Rosen and
Steve and Laura
At the end of the dinner, Dr. Tenney presented a certification of
appreciation to Ms. Mindy Kotler for her hard work of organizing the 70th
anniversary events. It was signed by all participating former POWs.
Roundtable on The Legacy of the Bataan Death March: Truth & Reconciliation
The meeting was held in the Rayburn House office building and was moderated by Mr. Timothy
Ruse, a POW grandson and the author of
A Biography of Carl Robert Ruse, Survivor of the Bataan Death March and
Prisoner of the Japanese, 1942-1945.
Congressmen Brian Bilbray and Mike Honda expressed their support for the POW
issue. They are co-sponsors of H. Res. 333.
which appreciates the Japanese government's effort to reach out to former
American POWs of the Japanese for reconciliation and which encourages those
Japanese companies that enslaved American POWs to emulate their government.
Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) Congressman
Luncheon with Disabled Veterans
The POWs shared their experiences and empathy with wounded warriors from
Walter Reed Army Hospital. This private lunch was hosted by the Disabled
American Veterans and the Heritage Foundation.
"The Disabled American
Veterans (DAV) was honored to stand with five former World War II prisoners
at Capitol Hill Visitor Center
Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
Mr. William P. Greene, Outreach Director for the Speaker of the House,
Mr. Roland Towery, his wife and daughter Alice Gilroy
Ms. Laura Gardonyi and
Ms. Kinue Tokudome
with Congressman Max Thornberry and wife (left).
The legacy of these veterans and their fellow POWs will be preserved at the
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor WWII Museum located in Wellsburg,
WV. Its goal is to create a world-class archive, educational and research
center on the history and lessons of POW experience during WWII in the
Ms. Jane Kraina of the Brooke County Public Library, where the Museum is
located, attended these events, representing the ADBC WWII Museum.
For more information visit
While in Washington DC, Ms. Kraina attended the funeral for former POW Abie
Abraham at Arlington National Cemetery. Learn more about
painting by Ben Steele
Mrs. Annette Lantos, Chairman, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and
Mr. Robert Dole,
former United State Senator
LtGen. Wallace (Chip)
Gregson, Jr., USMC (Ret.) Former Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific、Former
Assistant Secretary of Defense
Major General Antonio Taguba, US Army (Ret.). The author of the Taguba
Disabled American Veterans
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center
Ms. Linda Goetz Holmes, Author/historian,
Guests of the
Advisor to US government’s
IWG (The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records
Interagency Working Group)
Shmuel Herzfeld, Ohev Shalom Synagogue, Washington, DC
Mr. John Patterson, Co-founder and President Emeritus, Philippine Scouts
Ms. Kinue Tokudome, Founder/Executive Director, US-Japan Dialogue on
Dr. Thomas Childers, Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History, U of
Wellsburg, West Virginia
John A. Glusman, Author, Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors
and their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-45
Timothy Ruse, Author, We Volunteered. A Biography of Carl Robert
Ruse: Survivor of the Bataan Death March and Prisoner of the Japanese,
Project of the Library of Congress
Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
Vietnam Veterans of America
The Heritage Foundation
Honorary Host Committee
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)
Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) Senator Robert P. Casey,
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) Senator Dianne Feinstein
Rep. Bob Filner, (D-CA) Rep. Martin Heinrich
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
David L. McGinnis, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) Rep. Stevan Pearce
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
support from Ms. Laura Hillenbrand, the author of
delighted to hear of the commemoration of such a landmark event in the
Second World War, and join you in honoring the former prisoners of the
Japanese, whose suffering has so long been overlooked in our history."
Support from a
Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK) has offered its best wishes for the success of
the 70th Commemoration events. More about
Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, Ltd.
* This is a
project of Asia Policy Point, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization in
Washington DC. Its Director, Ms. Mindy Kotler, worked hard to put
these events together.
the Facebook created by Ms. Kotler, “Commemorating
Bataan and Corregidor.”
Donations to these 70th anniversary commemoration events are
tax-deductible and can be made to Asia Policy Point. Click on “Donate” on
American POWs of Japan.
Donors as of May 10. (More donations will be appreciated.)