Araw ng Kagitingan is a national holiday in the Philippines which commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II.
The Bataan Death March (also known as The Death March of Bataan) took place in the Philippines in 1942 and was later accounted as a Japanese war crime. The 60 mi (97 km) march occurred after the three-month Battle of Bataan, part of the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42), during World War II. In Japanese, it is known as Batān Shi no Kōshin (バターン死の行進?), with the same meaning.
The “march”, or forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities inflicted upon prisoners and civilians alike by the armed forces of the Empire of Japan.
Route of the death march. Section from San Fernando to Capas was by rail.
The treatment of the American prisoners was characterized by its dehumanization, as the Imperial soldiery “felt they were dealing with subhumans and animals.” Trucks were known to drive over those who fell or succumbed to fatigue, and “cleanup crews” put to death those too weak to continue. Marchers were harassed with random bayonet stabs and beatings. Accounts of being forcibly marched for five to six days with no food and a single sip of water are in postwar archives including filmed reports.
The exact death count is impossible to determine, but some historians have placed the minimum death toll between 6,000 and 11,000 men; other postwar Allied reports have tabulated that only 54,000 of the 72,000 prisoners reached their destination — taken together, the figures document a rate of death from one in four up to two in seven of those on the death march. The number of deaths that took place in the internment camps from the delayed effects of the march is considerably more.
On May 30, 2009, at the 64th and final reunion of Bataan Death March survivors in San Antonio, Texas, the Japanese ambassador to the United States apologized to an assembly of survivors for Imperial Japan’s treatment of Allied prisoners of war, on behalf of the Japanese government.