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ASVET Frederico Juarbe, Jr. reads the names of the members of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery batteries with survivors Agapito Silva, William Overmier and Leo Padilla during a trip to Albuquerque in July 2002.


“I was moved by the simple eloquence of the granite memorials, the history of the battles they fought, and the suffering they endured during their years of captivity. It is a story of heroism that serves as a timely reminder to us all that the price of freedom is never free.”


— Frederico Juarbe Jr.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment & Training [DOL Photo]

Bataan Memorial Park Flag Raiser


Mr. Robert Thomas daily raised the American flag at Bataan Memorial Park for 19 years. He took over the duty of caring for the flag when his son Jim, who began raising the flag in 1968, joined the Navy in 1982.


Although the installation of a lighted flagpole during the 2002 renovations closed this chapter on the Park's history, the Thomas’ legacy of self-sacrifice, service, and patriotism will not be forgotten. They have earned their place in our park... our city... our state's rich history.



1960 Granite Memorial

Filed as a park site on April 18, 1941 with the city of Albuquerque, Bataan Memorial Park received its name on March 2, 1943 when the Albuquerque City Commission passed the official resolution naming it Bataan Memorial Park, “For the super-human sacrifices endured by the men of the 200th Coast Artillery Anti-aircraft Regiment on Luzon, Philippine Islands, that freedom and liberty of mankind shall be preserved.” [Full Text]


In 1945, those who survived Bataan and Corregidor returned to their loved ones and to the hometowns they had left as young men — many in poor health and haunted by memories of their time spent in prison camps. Although the beautiful open spaces of New Mexico were a welcome sight, it was still difficult to adjust to life back at home.


Some returned to Albuquerque, a growing city of 40,000, with suburbs quickly expanding into the east mesa area. These new neighborhoods were ideal for veterans eager to start families, buy houses and participate again in community life.


As the vets rejoined their families and communities they needed a common place to share their experiences and memories. Many veterans settled in the McDuffie Place Addition (now Summit Park neighborhood) and used Bataan Memorial Park not only as a living memorial, but also as a place to enjoy the company of family and friends.


Family members and neighbors helped to establish and maintain this sacred place by erecting a stone memorial in the park in 1960.


The surviving Albuquerque Bataan and Corregidor veterans’ desire to preserve the historical integrity of Bataan Memorial Park was rewarded in September 1999, when the Park was placed on the Register of Cultural Properties (HPD #1783).


The veterans’ wish to see the names of the men of the 200th Coast Artillery who served on Bataan and Corregidor memorialized at the park was realized with the dedication of the Bataan Memorial on 7 April 2002.


The new memorial’s walkways with their granite pillars bearing the names and story of the men of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (AA) units are arranged such that one may get a sense of marching alongside a man, toward the original stone memorial. Behind the flower garden, a ramada has been erected which provides shade for the benches on which visitors can sit and look across a series of stepping stones which delineate the island nation of the Philippines to the original marker, or beyond to the grassy lawn of the park and children at play.


The memorial provides a physical reminder that the park is integral to the history of Albuquerque.


Mr. Agapito Silva, who passed away in 2007 and who long lobbied for the new Memorial, always said that one day his grandchildren will have children and he wanted them to come to the park, see his name, and say, “There is Agapito Silva, my grandpa. He was at Bataan.”


Bill Overmier, Leo Padilla, Agapito ‘Gap’ Silva, and Virgil Aimes. Courtesy of Mrs. Virgil Aimes.