Brainerd Hosts 20th Annual Bataan Memorial March
33 American flags lined the street to represent the 33 Brainerd soldiers lost during the Bataan Death March in World War II.
“6 POW/MIA flags out there are significant to cover six days of the march, and we need to remember it was in tropical heat that people were starving and there was no water,” said Larry Osvold, 194th Regiment President.
“We’re a county that’s free because of the brave, and those are some of the brave people from the Brainerd area that really gave a lot,” said 194th Regiment member John Pearson.
Nearly 300 individuals left from the Brainerd Armory to walk or run either 13 miles or the full marathon in honor of the POWs.
“It’s kind of humbling – it really is, because for all of the trials and tribulations we have and all that we think we have been through, they really pale in comparison when you look at what these men did, not only what they endured but they survived the worst of the worst that any enemy had to offer,” said Battalion Commander Tadd Vanyo.
Of the event, Osvold said, “This is pretty awesome. You saw a lot of young people out here today that are learning about our history.”
It’s a history that urges: Remember Bataan, Never Forget.
“It gives a sense of purpose and a sense of pride since it’s one of the world events that happened in WWII that they had participants in that, and they are proud of those individuals, those that made it back and those that didn’t,” said Vanyo.
One Brainerd soldier still remains missing in Action since the march 75 years ago.