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Bataan and other historical tid bits

Nora Soriño .

ILIGAN City — A man complained to his friend saying that whenever he and his wife get into a quarrel, she becomes “historical.”

The friend commented: “Maybe you mean, hysterical.”

“No,” the man replied, “I really mean historical, that is, my past sins are brought up along with the present!”

Maybe, you have already heard of this joke. History is important. I don’t know if that’s as important as ah, “historical sins”  in relation to relationships. Like, “it is better to have loved than never to have loved at  all.” Wait, that’s kind of incongrous. We try this one: “Ang hindi lumilingon…” ah, nevermind.

Anyway, didn’t they say that if we’re to develop as a nation, we should look back at the past.

So, here we are, who just had newly celebrated “Araw ng Kagitingan.” Earlier, it was known as “Bataan Day” or the “Fall of Bataan.”

Some sectors ask why should we celebrate defeat. But defeat or failure, some say, is just “success turned inside out.”

In earlier times, Bataan became an expression or used in another context in jest. For instance, if someone asks a woman if “Bataan has already been surrendered,” we know what that implies in relation with her and her boyfriend.

Araw ng Kagitingan as we all know it, is marked every April 9. Filipino and American soldiers on that date were defeated by the Japanese forces here in 1942. The latter were said to be well equipped then, hence the defeat. The Pinoys and Americans soldiers then, history tell us, went on a Death March from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando Pampanga. Many died along the way. I have a friend who told me his father survived the march but died of dysentery upon reaching Pampanga.

It is said that a month later, on May 6, 1942, Corrigidor surrendered, too.

Three years later, Bataan was re-taken, on Jan. 31, 1945. The Americans then had improved war equipment and pounded on the Japanese forces mercilessly.

It might be noted too that World War 2 that began in 1939 had the Americans  initially opting to stay neutral. But they could not stay neutral for a long time; they had to join what was then called Allied Forces. They then fought against the Axis Powers which comprised Germany, and Japan, et al. with the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, a prominent figure.

Joke has it that Hitler was a son of our national hero, Jose Rizal, because he had supposedly fallen for the charms of a German woman at around the time Hitler was born.

I had always thought that suicides in order to win some wars — or battles (the latter being a smaller version of the former) — are done only recently, as in suicide bombers. No, even during WW2, they were employed by the Japanese particularly as desperate measures to turn the tide in their favor. It was one of their official weapons. They were called Kamikazes. Young pilots were were asked to crash their bomb-laden planes into Allied ships. The kamikaze pilots then operated in Leyte Gulf, October 1944, and at Okinawa, they sank 34 naval craft. Yet despite that, they did not affect the outcome of World War II at all.

History tells us that US President Harry Truman was in favor of using the newly developed atomic bomb to end the war quickly unless Japan surrendered. Truman, Winston Churchill of Britain and Chiang Kai-Shek of then one China, demanded Japan’s unconditional surrender although they did not mention the bomb. Japan didn’t surrender and decided to continue the war.

On Aug. 6, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, killing at least 78,000. On Aug. 9, 1945, another bomb was dropped at Nagasaki killing at least 40,000.

I came across one writer who said he doesn’t know what sort of weapons would be used in World War 3. But during World War 4, he’s sure the weapons to be used are stones and sticks.

Stones and sticks! Now we’ll have to reflect on this one.


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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