BATAAN MEMORIAL PARK
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
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
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
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.