Independence Day Tribute 

There is a simple tile here. It was placed as a tribute to the Filipino people who helped to keep the American soldiers safe from the invading Japanese during WWII.

Do you see the one that reads Walter Chatham? He was my father, and he was one of the survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. 

I asked him once how he escaped, and he said it was quite by accident. He had been helping to carry his captain (because if you straggled or fell along the way, the Japanese soldiers would just bayonet you) when the man said he couldn’t make it any further. So my dad looked for a somewhat (nothing was comfortable there for the POWs) soft spot to lay him down that was camouflaged from their captors. 

He told me how the terrain in the Philippines was very deceptive, and what looked like a good place turned out to be a dropoff of about forty feet. And they both fell. 

As the company moved on, the Filipinos would watch from atop the trees, and once they were out of view, they would scurry down and rescue any man who had escaped. 

My dad was taken to one of Fassoth’s camps, where he recuperated (relatively speaking), and he stayed with them until, about five months later, he was recaptured when the Japanese invaded the camp. 

If you are interested in learning more, a good book to read is Behind Japanese Lines by Ray Hunt. Ray escaped about ten minutes after my dad, and he tells a little of my father’s story in his book. 

These are the men who fought and suffered to ensure that you and I could live in a free land. My dad was a patriot to his death at age sixty nine. I didn’t always like my father, but I love him.

Who do you honor today? 

A Pocketful of Joy to Fill Your Day 

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17 thoughts on “Independence Day Tribute 

  1. I just now saw your story. How interesting. My dog also died in the Bataan Death March, along with his handler who was my dad’s police partner. They were cohandlers of my dog and I considered him mine. They needed trained dogs and that’s how they arranged it when dad’s partner enlisted. I recently painted a picture of him but probably can’t attach it here

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    1. Wow! I have never had any response from someone who has been affected by this infamous March before! Where did your dad end up? Mine was in Cabanatuan until about July 1944, and then he was shipped to Japan, close to Nagasaki, where he was slave labor to mine coal.

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      1. My dad also was in the Pacific and went through the island fighting from New Guinea, ending up in the Philippines at war’s end. We wasn’t wounded but ended up with malaria and had a severe case of PTSD, which it wasn’t called then, but I believe shell shock. He was in the 1st Cav which is ironic, because we are at the home of the 1st Cav, Ft Hood. After all these years, I’m still missing my dog and he was the one that got me started on a lifelong love of German Shepherds.

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      2. I’ve never met anyone before who was a survivor of the March, your dad must have suffered terribly. What an absolute horror. I am at this time actively involved in stopping the Asian dog meat butchery going on. After the war years butchery it’s not hard for me to say I believe there are measures of atrocities ingrained in some peoples of this world.

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      3. When that culture stuff is pulled on me I like to say that there are cultures and practices rooted in repulsive behavior which is called tradition and must not be allowed to stand. I’m on WordPress too and of course Twitter and Facebook as it helps spread the word about the dog slaughtering going on. It’s nice to meet you and know you share an affection for German Shepherds. We were stationed in Germany many years and got a Shepherd there and I’ve named my sites after her. –Mädchen. Although my given name is Elizabeth, I’ve been called Betty all my life, except now that I’ve been painting, I sign them “Liz”

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      4. Wow! That’s so cool! My Shepherd’s name was King, and he was the smartest and most faithful dogs I have ever had! When we get some land, I plan on owning another one.
        How can I get involved in helping you? Would you like to do a guest spot on my blog? We could call it something like…A Pocketful of Joy…aiding animals.

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      5. I don’t think my reply came thru. Having a little trouble with my iPone tonight. What I had said, in case it didn’t get posted, was I am fine with that idea, and you on my page as well. My WordPress sites are. madchen’s blog. madcgensite.com. And Noah’s Park.
        madchen71.com

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much. I most definitely will keep reading your site. I’m glad to meet someone whose interests are like mine. It’s not just every day that someone comes along who has a past somewhat intertwined in an important way. You will be surprised but until I started up with FB, Twitter and WordPress just about two years ago, I knew nothing about using a computer and I’m still dumb and learning, so forgive my mistakes and not always knowing computer terms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me, too! I still don’t know how to guest blog, but I’m trying!
      Just curious, do you play any musical instruments? You said you paint. I’m not artistic in that way, but I do sing and play several instruments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well then you are lucky in that respect. I’m not musical except as a listener. I don’t know what came over me a couple of years ago to start painting and writing these things, but I feel like if I help animals , I won’t complains. I’ve got some poems in Poetry Soup and if you find any there, please feel free to use them
    http://www.poetrysoup.com/me/. I hope I haven’t made mistakes in computer links for my sites

    Like

  4. It’s really annoying about that link . I don’t know what to do except try to contact them. It’s the link they gave me but I’m just not computer savvy enough to figure it out

    Liked by 1 person

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