Friday was a very important anniversary in the history of Carlsbad. April 9, 2021, marked the 79th anniversary of the beginning of the Bataan Death March that took place during World War II. A significant number of Carlsbad residents, including several who had been park rangers at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, were captured by Japan after the fall of the Philippines. American and Filipino prisoners of war, were forcefully and brutally marched more than 60 miles to Camp O’Donnell.
This year’s Bataan Memorial Death March, held at White Sands Missile Range, is still being held as a virtual event. The march’s web page reports more than 6,800 registrations, from all U.S. states and 22 countries, are participating in activities this weekend.
Former Carlsbad resident Joanna Sieberg has been our community’s leading expert on the Death March for some time. Bob Stockwell helped create a beautiful exhibit at the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center highlighting the local impact the Death March had on Carlsbad. There’s also an excellent display at our Veterans Park. In 2012, film producer Jan Thompson created a film documentary about the Death March and we had a special screening in Carlsbad. We encourage everyone to take a moment this weekend to honor our community’s Bataan Death March participants over the weekend, and to always make sure that younger generations are aware our strong local ties.
From the office of Mayor Dale Janway