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Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia
Maywood, Illinois
Plaque in Maywood, Illinois

For 65 years, this small western suburb of Chicago has marked the second Sunday in September as "Maywood Bataan Day." This is the anniversary of the first Maywood Bataan Day, held on the second weekend of September, 1942. The residents were then calling attention to the nearly 100 Maywood National Guard troops who were taken prisoner when American forces surrendered at Bataan on April 9, 1942. These men endured the death march, prison camps, prison ships and eventual slave labour in Japan itself. The men were part of Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion. The original Maywood Bataan Day drew more than 100,000 spectators, dozens of marching bands, and celebrities including the Mayor Ed Kelley of Chicago and movie and radio stars. Today's celebration is much smaller, but still draws several hundred. The memorial is supported by the village of Maywood, Illinois and a non-profit group, the Maywood Bataan Day Organization. [10]

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/maywood/news/1759364,maywood-bataan-091009-s1.article

Maywood to observe Bataan Day

September 10, 2009

By PAUL SASSONE Contributor

It's about duty, honor and sacrifice. And it's about not forgetting.

For 67 years, Maywood residents and the Maywood Bataan Day Organization have not forgotten to honor the sacrifice of the village's young men who suffered and died during one of the most infamous events of World War II.

The second Sunday in September has been Bataan Day in Maywood since 1942. On Sept. 13, this year's Bataan Day observance will be at 3 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial in Maywood Park, First Avenue and Oak Street.

Bataan Day honors the 192nd Tank Battalion of the U.S. National Guard, and specifically Company B, which was composed of men from Maywood. The battalion was inducted into federal service on Nov. 25, 1940, and ultimately sent to the Philippines.

On the infamous Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese launched simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. American and Filipino forces held off the Japanese in fierce fighting on the Bataan Peninsula.

But after four months, the Allied troops, exhausted, short of everything, particularly food, and with no hope of reinforcements, surrendered on April 9, 1942. The following day, some 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers were forced by the Japanese to march 70 miles to a prison camp.

During this infamous Death March thousands died in the stifling heat or were murdered by their Japanese guards. Of the approximately 54,000 who reached the camp, many were ultimately sent to Japan as slave labor. Almost 10,000 Americans were taken prisoner on Bataan. Between 6,000 and 7,000 died in Japanese prison camps during the remaining three-and-a-half years of the war.

Of the 89 men of Company B, only 43 would return.

The commander of the Bataan Death March later was tried and executed as a war criminal.

In May 2009, Japan formally apologized for the Death March. Speaking at a convention of Bataan survivors, the Japanese ambassador to the United States said, "We extend a heartfelt apology for our country having caused tremendous damage and suffering to many people including prisoners of war, those who have undergone tragic experiences in the Bataan Peninsula, the Corregidor island, Philippines and other places."

In May 2009, Japan formally apologized for the Death March. Speaking at a convention of Bataan survivors, the Japanese ambassador to the United States said, "We extend a heartfelt apology for our country having caused tremendous damage and suffering to many people including prisoners of war, those who have undergone tragic experiences in the Bataan Peninsula, the Corregidor island, Philippines and other places."

But all those years between the Death March and the Japanese apology, Maywood never forgot.

The first Bataan Day in September 1942 was a national event, drawing more than 100,000 spectators, many bands and dignitaries and celebrities. And for decades, the Bataan Day Parade was a highlight of the year for Maywood residents.

But even though World War II is receding into history, Maywood has kept the Bataan ever in the present. In 1999, Maywood's Village Board created a Veterans Memorial in the southeast corner of Maywood Park.

And that same year, a photo of Company B -- similar to the photo that for years hung in the lobby of the Lido Theater -- was installed in the history room of the library.

And again, this year, as it has for the last 67 years, Maywood will not forget. There will be a concert at Sunday's memorial by the Proviso East High School Band at 2:30 p.m. Guest speaker at the following ceremony will be Circuit Court Judge James J. Gavin.

In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the library, Fifth Ave. and St. Charles Road. Everyone is invited to attend, to honor and to not forget.

Maywood Illinois

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