WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2015) - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will participate for the second year in a row in the Annual Bataan Memorial Death March on Sunday, March 22, 2015. The memorial event is a challenging 26.2-mile march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their lives.
"It's a humbling experience to be part of this community-driven, annual event to honor and learn from the survivors of Bataan," said Sen. Heinrich. "What the veterans of the Bataan Death March endured is one of the most moving and harrowing stories. We must never forget their personal sacrifice, perseverance, and patriotism."
***To arrange an interview with Senator Heinrich in advance of the 26.2-mile march, call 202-228-1578 or email email@example.com. Reporters and photographers planning to cover the march must call the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office at (575) 678-1134 to register and for more details.***
On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were surrendered to Japanese forces. The Americans were Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines. Among those seized were members of the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard. They were marched for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles. Thousands died. Those who survived faced the hardships of a prisoner of war camp. Others were wounded or killed when unmarked enemy ships transporting prisoners of war to Japan were sunk by U.S. air and naval forces.
The Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University began sponsoring the Bataan Memorial Death March in 1989 to mark a page in history that included so many native sons and affected many families in the state. In 1992, White Sands Missile Range and the New Mexico National Guard joined in the sponsorship and the event was moved to the missile range. For more information about the Annual Bataan Memorial Death March, visit: http://www.bataanmarch.com.