April 7, 2002

 

The long wait is finally over. The Memorial long promised to the veterans of the New Mexico 200th and 515th Coast Artillery units is fulfilled. The timing is auspicious. This year is the 60th anniversary of the now infamous Bataan Death March where tens and thousands of Filipino and American soldiers suffered untold atrocities in the hands of the enemy. That many survived is a testimony to the resilience of human beings and the tenacity of their human spirit.

 

The completion of the Bataan Memorial is likewise a testament to the perseverance of a handful of New Mexico Bataan veterans who would not allow the world to forget their contribution to peace and freedom and deny them their place in history. To some of the veterans, the memorial may bring the final recognition that they have been waiting for in a long time, to complete the healing process. Stories that have been suppressed may now be told and written for the coming generations of New Mexicans to behold.

 

The Memorial is also a tribute to my father, Alejandro C. Alcántara, a WWII veteran and a Bataan Death March survivor, and to all the veterans who fought during WWII to keep the Philippines and the Filipinos free.

 

I am humbled to be part of this historic moment. I am honored to have facilitated the construction of this Monument and helped fulfill a long-awaited dream. It is fitting that a Filipino immigrant would accomplish this task. Now, the cycle is complete.

 

I am grateful to the members of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation for their confidence in my ability to accomplish the task expected of me. To Colleen Frenz, David Flores, and Bill Perkins, I extend my greatest appreciation for making my task easy and enjoyable.

 

Adélamar N. Alcántara, Ph.D.

President

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