The Design of the Bataan Memorial


The design of the Memorial seeks to honor the sacrifice of the men of the 200th and the 515th Coast Artillery Regiments. It evolved from close work with the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico and specifically with the veterans who served on this Board. In initial meetings, veterans spoke of their war experiences and of their hopes for a suitable memorial. From the words and ideas of the veterans, alternative design studies were prepared and presented. One design was unanimously embraced by the Board. This concept was refined over the subsequent months by the landscape architect working closely with Board members as well as with City of Albuquerque, Summit Park Neighborhood Association, and the State Historic Preservation Office representatives.


One event from the American experience in the Philippines was a source of inspiration for the design. Following the surrender of the American and Filipino troops [on Bataan, 9 April 1942], the Japanese military assembled the prisoners and forced them to march across the Bataan peninsula to the now infamous Camp O’Donnell. It is difficult to grasp the indignity and the pain of the men who endured what came to be known as the Bataan Death March. The Memorial’s granite columns bear the names and the story of the men who served. These columns allude to a line of men walking on a road. The columns line the paths that enter the Memorial in a manner that allows each of us to stand with these men.


The names of the men of the 200th and the 515th are engraved in a pattern that symbolizes the ribs of a man as a reminder of the basic essentials of existence many of the survivors came to know through the years of captivity in prison and forced labor camps.


The ramada represents the land of New Mexico and the memory of home that must have helped sustain these men during the march, and during their captivity.


From the shelter of the ramada we look out across the harmonious form of an ellipse — a walk that links the original stone memorial, the pole bearing the American flag, and a series of paved stepping stones. The pattern of stone delineates the island nation of the Philippines in recognition of the shared experience of New Mexicans and Filipinos. Across the way, one may still see the exuberant energy of neighborhood children playing soccer on grassy fields. We are reminded of our gratitude to these men for their great sacrifice.


William S. Perkins, ASLA

Landscape Architect