Saturday, September 13, 2014

Maywood Bataan Day, September 14

Float from first Maywood Day 1942

Maywood Bataan Day Organization

72nd Annual Maywood Bataan Day

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Veterans Memorial Park
 Maywood, Illinois

Musical program starts at 2:30pm 
Memorial Service begins at 3:00pm
with the massing of the Color Guard

US Navy Ceremonial Band Great Lakes

The 15th Anniversary of the dedication of Veterans Memorial Park in Maywood and the 55th Anniversary of the dedication of the 192nd Tank Battalion Plaque at the old National Guard Armory originally located across the street from Proviso East High School on Madison Ave and now relocated to Veterans Memorial Park.

Singing of the American and Philippine National Anthems, as well as the always emotionally moving Monument Ceremony presented by the VietNow Color Guard DuPage Chapter. Our Keynote Speaker is Command Sergeant Major Mark W. Bowman, who is the Land Component CSM for the Illinois National Guard as well as a tanker himself. Guest speakers, including the Philippine Consul General in Chicago, Generoso D. G. Caonge, and Barry C. Cicero, Past Cmdr, First Division, American Legion Dept. of Illinois.

Rifle salute will be presented by the Howard H. Rohde American Legion Post #888from Northlake, Commander Al Pizzaro. And memorial wreaths will be presented by representatives of all branches of the US Military, as well as distinguished Filipino and other community guests.

And to mark the anniversaries of the dedication of Veterans Park, and the original 192nd Tank Battalion plaque, there will be dedicating a new plaque to replace the existing plaque.

Thank you to Home Depot Foundation in providing landscaping to Veterans Memorial Park and the labor ofHome Depot Store #1901 in Broadview, Illinois, for their efforts to install the new landscaping materials.

Half track tank on Bataan 1941
The members of the 33rd Tank Company, 33rd Infantry Division of the Illinois National Guard based at the Armory in Maywood, Illinois. In September 1940, the Draft Act had been passed and selected National Guard Units were called into active duty to prepare for the possibility of entering the war in Europe. The 33rd Tank Company was organized May 3, 1929 at Maywood, Illinois and was inducted into active Federal service as Company “B” of the 192nd Tank Battalion on November 25, 1940.

One 122 of these men left the Armory at Madison Street and Greenwood Avenue in Maywood to board a Northwestern Railroad train which took them to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where Company B joined Company A from Janesville, Wisconsin. Company C from Port Clinton, Ohio, and Company D from Harrodsburg, Kentucky, to form the 192nd Tank Battalion.

Bataan Death March April 1942
After further training and participating in Louisiana maneuvers, the 192nd Tankers were at Camp Polk, Louisiana, to be fully equipped for overseas shipping. In October of 1941, 89 men of the original Company “B” left the United States for the Philippine Islands. They arrived in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands on November 20, 1941 — Thanksgiving Day. From the port area, they went to Clark Field on Luzon, 60 miles to the north of Manila. On December 8, 1941, their battle began as they defended The Philippines from invading Imperial Army forces.

On April 9, they were surrendered and began nearly four years of indescribable hell: The infamous Bataan Death March, hellships, slave labor, torture, starvation, murder, and humiliation. Less than half the men would return home.

Today’s Maywood Bataan Day Organization (MBDO) traces its roots back to the American Bataan Clan (ABC). This small group arose out of the anguish of mothers over the welfare of their sons who were lost when Bataan fell. After suffering through just over four months of promises of military and supply relief that was to be sent to the men fighting to slow or push back the invasion of Imperial Japan, these family members decided to take matters into their own hands.

Viola Heilig, mother of Sgt. Roger Heilig of Co. B of the 192nd Tank Battalion, was one of the founding mothers and also the first president. In the summer of 1942, the ABC registered itself as a charitable foundation and set about collecting the items that prisoners of war would need. They had food drives, collected clothing, and worked with the Red Cross to determine where to send the items. During the summer, little information came out about the fate of the captured troops, but some heavily censored letters from the prisoners confirmed that at least some of the men of the 192nd were still alive.

On the second weekend of September, 1942, the ABC helped sponsor an incredible weekend of celebrations of the American spirit just as America fully turned its efforts to the war effort. Recent victories in the Pacific theater of the war led some to believe that the tide was turning. A parade through the streets of Maywood that weekend featured hundreds of marching bands, floats, soldiers, and celebrities. Even Chicago Mayor Kelley was there. READ MORE

Contact the Maywood Bataan Day Organization for more information and to see their blog

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