BATAAN VETERANS ORGANIZATION

Albuquerque Chapter

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

 

On April 9, 1942, sixty years ago, General King surrendered the American forces on the Bataan Peninsula. Many of our friends died from stabbings, starvation, and beatings, as we had been taken Japanese prisoners-of-war. Many stories have been written about the Bataan Death March as well as the defense of Corregidor. Those that survived endured even more torture and were forced to work in coal and copper mines, factories, and shipping docks in remote places throughout the Philippines and in Japan and Manchuria.

 

After three years of hard and devoted work by the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico, our dream has finally come true. The task was not easy. When the Bataan Veterans Organization, Albuquerque Chapter, was notified that the memorial dedicated to the Bataan veterans was slated to be removed from Bataan Memorial Park and placed at the newly constructed Phil Chacon Veterans Park, we mobilized to save and preserve it.

 

We worked with a class from the graduate program in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico and got a moratorium on any new construction at the Park. We used the time to work with the City Parks and Recreation Department, the City Mayor and our local state representatives to put a stop to the removal. Our efforts were rewarded when the park attained the status of a State Historic Park, the only such designation ever given to a city park that is dedicated to war veterans.

 

Four years ago, with the help of many friends, the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico was formed. Our first president was Michael Montoya, New Mexico State Treasurer and son of a 200th Coast Artillery survivor, Orlando Montoya. Today, Dr. Adélamar N. Alcántara is President and has guided us toward this auspicious day! Her father, Alejandro Alcántara, was a Filipino USAFFE survivor of the Bataan Death March.

 

I commend and thank all the people for their efforts. Special thanks goes to our Vice-President, Bill Overmier, 200th CA(AA) Battery B, Treasurer Ernest Montoya, 200th CA(AA) Battery A, the Foundation’s Secretary, Georgianna Peña-Kues, as well as the rest of the Board.

 

As I have said many times before, I want my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren to come here and find my name and say, “This was my dad, my grandfather, my great grandfather...”

 

 

Agapito ‘Gap’ E. Silva, 515th CA(AA) Battery D

Commander, Bataan Veterans Organization

Albuquerque Chapter

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