FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University, East Bay
10 at the CSUEB Theater
Hayward, CA – March 19, 2012 – Cal State University, East Bay’s Theatre and Dance Department, the Philippine American Student Association (PASA) and Artis Mundi of Berkeley present a Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan on Tuesday, April 10 from 4PM to 6PM at the University Theatre located at 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. on East Loop Road, Hayward, CA. Admission is free. Nearest parking area (Fee) is in Lot K.
The fall of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942 marked the largest single surrender in American military history. Some 63,000 Filipino and 12,000 American soldiers, mostly sick and emaciated, were forced to march under searing heat with barely any provisions for food, water or medicine in order to reach their prison camps some 60 miles away. Approximately 15,000 soldiers died along the way in what became infamously known as the Bataan Death March.
Bataan’s significance cannot be overemphasized. In January, 1942, a month after Pearl Harbor, the Filipino and American troops were already subsisting on half rations. And yet, these troops managed to valiantly hold on until April 9, 1942. Singapore fell in February, 1942 and Indonesia a month after. Bataan delayed the momentum of the Japanese invasion of the Pacific, sparing Australia from onslaught and preventing the complete takeover of the Pacific by the Axis forces. If not for Bataan, people in Asia Pacific and other parts of the world may not be living in freedom today.
The event will be introduced by Ann Fajilan, a faculty member of the Theatre and Dance Department and Artis Mundi’s founder, Cecilia Gaerlan, author of the World War II novel, In Her Mother’s Image. It will feature speakers from the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, Battling Bastards of Bataan, Bay Area Civilian Ex-Prisoners of War and the U.S. Armed Forces of the Far East. The members of the Philippine American Student Alliance will do a presentation of Hollywood’s depiction of Filipino soldiers during WW II followed by a preview of the Bataan documentary, Forgotten Soldiers written by Chris Schaefer, produced and directed by Donald Plata and narrated by Lou Diamond Phillips. There will also be taped interviews of Bataan Death March survivors that were conducted by the students. The culmination of the program will be the appearance of Bataan Death March/World War II survivors.