April 9 seems like another ordinary day on the calendar in the Philippines. Today is a weekend, particularly a Sunday so it’s already expected that families will go to the mall, the beaches to cool off in this summer heat, go visit the park, or just stay at home and surf the internet and check their notifications on FB or any social sites. Is there anything special today?
Perhaps the current generation may not remember anything since they were too young when this event occurred. I was also not born yet during that time so I couldn’t say I experienced it. Maybe they just don’t care since it’s none of their business about what happened before. Yeah, that event does not concern me too because the people directly involved in it are already long dead and they are not linked to me in any way. Perhaps they may be correct about all what they said. After all, this event did occur seventy-five years ago but it would not hurt to at least remember what happened right?
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 7, 1941 where the mighty naval fleet of the United States of America was stationed, the Empire of Japan who is a member of the Axis Powers went and invaded the Philippines. People from all walks of life volunteered to be enlisted in the army to help repel the invaders in order to preserve democracy and peace in the archipelago. The Filipino nation, alongside the Americans, fought bravely even though they learned that America decided to help first its allies in Europe instead of aiding their commonwealth in the Pacific. Though they faced overwhelming odds and great perils against the onslaught caused by the Japanese, they still performed their duty in the hopes of defeating the enemy. However, that never came to fruition since the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East) experienced heavy casualties which came to a heavy decision to either surrender or fight to the last man. On April 9, 1942, General P. King who is the commander of the Bataan forces surrendered to the Japanese.
April 9 may be a day that Bataan fell and is all about the defeat of the Philippines in the hands of the invaders, but it is not a thing that we need to forget since they fought bravely in the past in order for us to live in the present where there is peace and harmony. Let us not forget their sacrifices and the reason why they chose to fight. Perhaps the only time their endeavors will truly be for naught is that if the entire Filipino nation will forget in the future what April 9 is all about. I just hope that nightmare will not come true.
Philippine History for Elementary Schools by Gregorio F. Zaide, Ph.D.