Bataan Death March to be remembered in annual Phoenixville event

PHOENIXVILLE — Now an annual event, Phoenixville’s Kuntao martial arts club in Franklin Commons will hold a ceremony honoring those who died or survived in the infamous Bataan Death March.

Several different organizations in addition to Kuntao will take part in the ceremony Wednesday, including VFW Post 7155 and the Kapitbayan Filipino-American Association of Chester County.

Dale Yeager, the owner of Kuntao, which not only teaches Filipino-style martial arts but Filipino culture, as well, had an uncle who was killed as a prisoner-of-war in the Philippines.

“This encompassed an awful lot of people,” he said during last year’s ceremony.

In the early months of the United States’ involvement in World War II, the American and Filipino troops left in the Philippines surrendered April 9 — 72 years to the day before Wednesday’s event — after a long fight with invading Japanese forces. What followed was a brutal 80 mile march to prisoner-of-war camps which killed up to 650 Americans and 80,000 Filipinos.

Wednesday’s ceremony will feature a military honor guard and a “Filipino cultural display.”

It will be held at the Kuntao Club at Franklin Commons in Phoenixville. Scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., the ceremony is expected to last approximately an hour.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.