Janie Meuli Moseley

 

CHARTER MEMBER

BATAAN RELIEF ORGANIZATION

 

Sixty years ago this week, the Bataan Relief Organization was formed by the parents, wives, brothers and sisters of our 200th Coast Artillery (AA) men. Some of you were already on the Bataan Death March and some of you had escaped from Bataan to Corregidor, only to be trapped and surrendered a month later.

 

Those were truly days of great anguish. After the hard fought battles we did not know who was still living and who was dead. Here at home we had no way of knowing!

 

The Bataan Relief Organization was formed to pressure our U.S. Defense Department to do something to save our men. We knew that you were starving and that you had been sent to the Philippines with very little to fight with. Yet, you managed to hold back the Japanese for five months!

 

Our government did nothing. You had nothing. We prayed that there would be an exchange of prisoners of war. Nothing! In spite of this, by holding the enemy back you gave our country the time it needed to regroup and prepare for the battles ahead.

 

Indeed, these were days of great anxiety. There were few glimmers of hope.  Days and nights were spent in constant prayer to God on your behalf.

 

The two people who stand out in my memory are the founders of the Bataan Relief Organization. They are Doctor V. H. Spensley and Mr. Paul McCahon. Both men had sons in the 200th. These two men went to our Nation’s Capitol to beseech our government to send help and save our men. And although they lived to see the war end, neither was able to welcome back their own son. Dr. Spensley’s son, Homer, died in the Philippines. Mr. McCahon died just before his son, James, returned home.

 

The following poem was published in the BRO Bulletin in December, 1944. It was written by Lt. A. D. Sweeny and dedicated to the unselfish and inspiring efforts of loved ones “to keep alive the torch of freedom.”

 

Oh God, may I be worthy

Of those who die for me;

Of the land their blood keeps free?

 

I’ll keep their cherished faith;

Born of sacrifice and tears.

I’ll stand their watch for freedom

Through the strife of coming years.

 

Please God, may I never falter

For in this my duty’s plain;

To keep alive their flaming torch

So in death, they’ll live again.

 

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