Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Hispanics and the Bataan Death March

May 31, 2010

Some years back I was a regular visitor to Santa Fe, N.M.  One of the things I saw there was the Bataan Memorial, commemorating the Bataan Death March of 1942.  U.S. forces in the Philippines were besieged by the Japanese forces on the Bataan Peninsula until they were starved out. When they finally surrendered, they were marched 65 miles in scorching heat without food or water, and many died.

About 1,800 members of the 12,000 U.S. troops were members of the New Mexico National Guard, who had been called up in 1941, prior to the outbreak of the war, to reinforce U.S. forces in the Philippines. Evidently the top brass thought that the predominantly Hispanic membership of the New Mexico guard could relate well to the Spanish-speaking population of the Philippines.

On Memorial Day, we honor all Americans who sacrificed their lives while serving in the armed forces of our country. With all the recent controversy over Arizona and its immigration law, it is worth remembering that Mexican-Americans and others of Hispanic heritage are part of that heritage. They are not interlopers.

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