Pinoy survivor of Bataan Death March among honored in the Bay Area

SAN BRUNO, CA — The flags of the United States and the Philippines, followed by the flags of the U.S. Armed Services, marched through Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.

This is part of the annual celebration and remembrance of the Bataan Death March and Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Cecilia Gaerlan is the founder and director of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society — which hosts this event every year.

Gaerlan has been instrumental in making sure WWII in the Philippines be taught in classrooms across California and the rest of the U.S.

“There’s not enough information out there of especially of WWII in the Philippines, especially from the perspective of a Filipino. That is why we use primary documents, military reports, legislation as primary documents.

From high commanding officers to special dignitaries — many were in attendance.

“It’s very important there for us to learn those sacrifices so that we are able to navigate in the future. And others may have forgotten but we should not. And we will not,” said Congen. Henry Bensurto.

Among the veterans who fought in the Pacific Theater in WWII  — 96-year-old Fil-Am David Tejada is one of the remaining survivors of the Bataan Death March.

Even though 77 years have passed, Tejada can still recall the horrific ordeal.

“Basically, I was scared and I was hungry.”

Gratitude is what Mr. Tejada expresses for all those who honor him today.

Also among those in attendance were young people, many who are grandchildren of World War II veterans.

“I think it’s important to recognize these Filipino veterans for their contributions and sacrifices in world war ii because like the keynote speaker said they found to defend and preserve our freedom.”

The Bataan Legacy Historical Society are already planning for their 5th conference on WWII in the Philippines to be held on Saturday, September 28th at the University of San Francisco.

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