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