Yesterday's date holds a special significance to me. Obviously the inauguration of our 45th president is significant to America, but January 20 is also the birth date of my great-great-uncle Israel Goldberg who died in a POW Camp after the Bataan Death March. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Bataan, and in honor of this, I am doing something that has been a dream of mine for several years. On March 19, I will run the Memorial Bataan Death March Marathon.
It's not nearly as long as the original March (only 26 miles instead of the full 65), nor anywhere nearly as difficult, but set in the desert of New Mexico, it certainly bodes to be one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. 26.2 miles of sand, dirt, tough hills, direct sun, and more sand. Not as "fun" as the Marine Corps Marathon this past October, but that is not the point. No doubt I will be thinking of my uncle and his brave, brave soldiers-in-arms every step of the way.
In preparation for this Marathon, besides the physical training, I'm also pressing forward full speed to find any information I can on my uncle's military service. Unfortunately, after they recovered the bodies from the mass grave he was buried in, Israel was unable to be identified. I've done periodic research over the last few years, and even though we do not know which grave he's buried in at Manila Cemetery, there are many things still to learn. And this race has added an extra incentive to push forward full speed.
As tough as this race will be, each sore bone, achy knee, stiff back, and blistered foot will be completely worth it if it can help to continue the memory of the men of Bataan. "No Mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam," was a song they sang because they thought they had been forgotten. But they are not forgotten. And I hope the memory of their sacrifice continues on for generations.
I look forward to sharing more about this later. Until then, you can catch up on two articles I wrote previously on my uncle: