Brainerd Armory Hosts Annual Event To Honor The Veterans Of The Bataan Death March
On this day 77 years ago, the United States surrendered at Bataan, Phillippines in World War II. After the surrender, thousands of American troops and even more Filipino troops were led on what is now known as the Bataan Death March.
To honor the thousands of soldiers that lost their lives during the march, the Brainerd Armory held their annual wreath laying ceremony this morning. Brainerd’s 194th Tank Battalion had 64 men that were taken as prisoners of war as part of the march. 33 men were either killed or missing in action, while 29 survived the horrific conditions including 99-year-old Walter Straka. Straka is the last Minnesota survivor of the Bataan Death March, and he still calls Brainerd his home after 99 years.
Erma Peck, one of the last widows still alive, was given an award after she donated thousands of pictures and items from the war to the armory.
The Brainerd Armory hosts the ceremony every year on April 9th, and the public is encouraged to attend next year’s event.