Survival, Loyalty, and Faith: The Story of Ben Skardon

Photo Credit: Ken Scar

In early February of 1945, the war in Europe was wrapping up. By May, the Germans had surrendered, and there was "a hot time in the town of Berlin when the Yanks [went] marching in.” The jubilation of the freed countries of Europe was unbounded.  

But for Ben Skardon and the remaining veterans of Bataan, it looked hopeless. After surviving a brutal march, cattle cars of death, multiple Japanese prisoner camps, disease, and starvation, by early December 1944, Ben Skardon and 1600 other POWs had been crammed into the hold of the Japanese passenger/cargo ship, Oryoku Maru.

Sitting for days… Each man sitting between the legs of the man behind him. Thus began a 47 day nightmare of horrendous inhumanity and barbarisms. The lack of air and water. The confined space. The constriction of movement produced near panic.
— Ben Skardon

En route to Japan, the Oryoku Maru was attacked by US Navy planes from the USS Hornet. Unmarked and unidentifiable as a POW ship, the Navy planes had no idea they were bombing their own men. The ship was sunk and 270 POWs were killed. Loaded onto another cargo ship, the Enoura Maru, Skardon and his fellow POWs were again hit by friendly fire in the harbour of Takao, Formosa, killing another several hundred men.

Among those killed was Otis Morgan, a man to whom Skardon owed his life. Morgan and another man named Henry Leitner had worked tirelessly to keep Skardon alive when he lay sick and dying of starvation and disease. Trading what few valuables they had left (including Skardon’s Clemson Ring), they managed to bribe the guards for the necessary items to keep their friend from death’s door.

Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan (PC CBS News)

When Skardon succumbed to the tortuous sufferings brought on by Beriberi (a vitamin deficiency disease which causes nerve inflammation and heart failure), Morgan and Leitner spent hours around the clock wiping his eyes and rubbing his feet to help reduce the pain. During a time when it was “every man for himself” to survive, the three men had stuck together to keep each other alive.

But even their close friendship could not prevent Morgan from becoming one of the hundreds of casualties of the Hell Ships. When the ship docked on January 30th, of the 1,619 POWs brought aboard in the Philippines, hardly 500 had survived the barbaric 47 day crossing.

“Survival, Loyalty, and Faith,” Ben Skardon told an auditorium of people gathered to hear him speak 76 years later. "Survival: To maintain life, to endure. Loyalty: To family, to friends, to country. Faith: In the fellow man and the Almighty God." Those were the keys to his existence during the unthinkable experiences he had endured as a prisoner of the Japanese.

PHoto credit: CBS news

Despite all odds, Ben Skardon (now a retired Army Colonel) had survived. He had survived one of the greatest tragedies in American history. But why had he survived when so many others had died?

In his speech two weeks ago at White Sands Missile Range, he explained how he never gave up. Once a man had given up the hope and fire inside of him to survive, Skardon explained, it was very rare that that man would live to see another sunrise.

To live without Hope is to Cease to live.

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The loyalty of his friends and to his country had also kept him alive. Morgan and Leitner never got to see their homeland again, but because of the sacrifices they made for their friend, their names will never be forgotten - not by Ben Skardon.

On March 18, 2018, for the 11th time, 100 year old (“100 and 7/10," he corrects me) Ben Skardon made his annual pilgrimage to White Sands Missile Range for the Bataan Memorial Death March. After a weekend meeting the marchers, encouraging them for the difficult task they were about to undertake, and sharing personal experiences from Bataan, Col. Skardon set out on his own Bataan Memorial March.

He doesn’t have to. After all, he is over 100 years old… but he feels obligated. An obligation that is 76 years old. Leitner and Morgan did not have to exert themselves to save Skardon’s life, but they did. And now, Col. Skardon feels it is a small thing to march in their honor.

Proud to March with ben's brigade and wear a my great-uncle's photo

In past years, Col. Skardon has marched 8.5 miles of the rugged desert terrain. Nearly 7 of those miles are dubiously sandy, uneven, and difficult for the average person, much less a senior. But Col. Skardon has been defying the term “senior” for years, continually proving the mettle which helped him to survive his years of imprisonment.

This year, as the members of Ben’s Brigade gathered for the annual pre-march dinner, I asked a few of them if the Colonel would be going the whole 8.5 miles. “It’s hard to know… but we’re hoping for 3 miles” was the general response.

“I’m going to go as far as I can,” the Colonel told me.

The next morning, the marchers, the veterans, and Ben’s Brigade gathered for the opening ceremonies. It was an electric atmosphere. The Bataan Memorial Death March is no easy marathon, and every one of the participants either knew that or figured it out pretty quick. Having completed the whole 26.2 miles last year, I can tell you the feeling among the marchers is just enough excitement to get them up in the morning, but just enough nerves to question the sensibility of the venture they are about to embark upon.

Members of Ben's Brigade, including Col. Skardon's nephew, Sgt. Hooper Skardon

But all those nerves disappear when, moments before they cross the start line, the marchers are greeted by Bataan Death March survivors, ready to shake their hands and wish them well before heading into the New Mexico desert. It is an utterly inspiring sight. Over and over again my throat choked and I teared up as I watched the marchers, wounded warriors, ROTC, active military, veterans, and civilians pause to shake the hands of the very men who were the reason for this memorial march.

wounded warriors shake the hands of bataan survivors moments before they head out to the grueling New mexico desert

“Good job. We’ll see you in 26 miles!” The veterans would say, and off the marchers would go.

When the last man crossed the start-line, Ben’s Brigade formed up.

“Oosh,” said Colonel Skardon, a command his Japanese guards would holler out for the prisoners to “keep moving.”

At mile 1, we halted. “If you want to cheat,” said the Colonel in his refined southern accent, “You can’t. We’ve got the record right here.” The Colonel says that if you take a photo with each mile marker, it's proof that you didn't cheat.

By mile 2, we began to hit the sand.

Mile 3, the sand was beginning to get rough. The Colonel made his mile stop and announced, “We’ll wait here 30 seconds. One, two, three, four, five, Oosh!” We continued.

Col. Skardon at mile 5

Never a complaint, occasionally throwing out a piece of humorous advice, or offering a witty comment, Colonel Skardon pressed on.

“The voices spoke,” he said, as he rested a hand on the mile 4 marker, “but I have prevailed. I’m gonna try one more mile… before I take the night.” He added with a twinkle, “You know what that means? If you get into that damn automobile, you get bayoneted…. but me, I’m the commander. You’ll be in front of me.” His announcement complete, with a chuckle and a mischievous grin, he ordered the well-known command, “Oosh!”

After completing 5 miles, Colonel Skardon took a seat in the car that followed behind us over the sandy desert terrain. He left us with this parting, “I have some urgent business to take care of, but I’ll join you at 7.”

Before too long we were re-joined by the Colonel, and by the time we reached the finish-line, he had completed nearly 7 miles. I can’t quite tell you what an incredible feeling it was to watch 100.5 year old Bataan Death March survivor (or should I say “year-young” after the feat he completed) cross his personal finish line. Inspiring? Oh 100%.

During the march, I had contemplated the life of this man, listened to stories from his family and friends, and watched him put one foot in front of the other, unfaltering in spirit.

Colonel beverly skardon crosses his personal finish line at the bataan memorial death march

Despite age, memories, a full life, this man who had marched the same trail and endured the same horrors of Bataan which took my great uncle's life had just completed another yearly pilgrimage, “as a tribute and honor to my Clemson friends,” Otis Morgan and Henry Leitner. “Two and a half years in the prison camp and we became like brothers." For his brothers he marched.

A true testimony to his character and the 3 rules he had given us the day before, “Survival, Loyalty, and Faith.”

For someone like Colonel Skardon, “inspiring” just begins to describe him. But marching with him was inspiring. To me, to the members of Ben’s Brigade, and to every single one of the marchers who shook his hand.

Moments after  Colonel Skardon led the group past the finish line, Ben’s Brigade broke out into the Clemson Cadence:

Fight Tigers, Fight Tigers, Fight, Fight, Fight!

A most appropriate ending for this memorable day.

Ben's Brigade: Colonel Ben Skardon and the Bataan Death March

Sometimes the saying "a once in a lifetime" opportunity can be cliche. The phrase is often used to emphasize the specialness of a certain event or meeting. But other times it can exactly describe something that will truly only happen once and never again. And this is a great gift. Two weeks ago, I was given a gift and "a once in a lifetime" experience when I marched with Colonel Ben Skardon and "Ben's Brigade" during the Bataan Memorial Death March.

Probably my favorite photo from this week. I can't describe the honor it was to march with Colonel Ben Skardon on my great-great uncle's behalf during the Bataan Memorial Death March. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.

You probably don't remember me mentioning it in my last article, because, in fact, I purposefully left it out. It was such an important part of the Bataan Weekend that I could not relegate it to a paragraph or two. Who is Col. Ben Skardon? And what is "Ben's Brigade?"

Col. Ben ("Uncle Ben" or just "Ben") is a 99-year old Bataan Death March survivor, American POW, and member of the Clemson University Alumni, who for the last 10 years has made it his mission to march 8.5 miles of the Bataan Memorial Death March in honor of the friends and servicemen lost that fateful spring of 1942, when America suffered the greatest surrender to an outside enemy in our entire history. Col. Ben was a young captain in the 92nd Infantry PA (Philippine Army), when Bataan surrendered. He survived the brutal march, three years of horrendous Japanese Pow camps, the sinking of two unmarked Japanese POW ships, and countless sicknesses and diseases contracted while in the camps, only to be liberated by the Russians in Manchuria, late 1945, weighing a grand total of 90 pounds. His story is one of determination and perseverance. At 99 years old - nearly 100, these qualities are strong as ever, demonstrated again each year as he treks the difficult 8.5 miles through sand and heat. 

And that is where Ben's Brigade comes in. In their bright Clemson orange t-shirts, hoodies, and caps, the brigade is hard to miss - even in a crowd of over 7,000 runners/marchers. On race day, as Col. Ben stepped down from the van that carried him to the opening ceremonies, he conducted the members of the brigade who had burst out singing the Clemson fight song, cheering him, and taking pictures simultaneously. I've never been into sports too much... but the camaraderie and infectious enthusiasm of the Clemson crowd was too much not to join in.

The truth is that until about a month ago, I had never heard of Ben's Brigade. I had read of Col. Ben, but it had been a few years and in the context of other research I was doing. However thanks to the wonderful world of social media and a mutual acquaintance lending a helping hand, I was introduced to this remarkable, hilarious, and all around swell group of people.

From what I understand, Ben's Brigade initially started as only a handful of people who wanted to march alongside Col. Ben as he made this "pilgrimage," but as he continued to make a return to the Bataan March each year, so did his friends; and the handful of people (made up almost entirely of members of Clemson University - past, present, and future) kept growing and took on the fabulous name of "Ben's Brigade." I don't know for sure, but I think this year there must have been close to 50 members of Ben's Brigade making the march with him. 

As I mentioned, an acquaintance from social media who heard that I was going to march contacted me about Ben's Brigade. On learning that Col. Ben was going to be at the Bataan March and participate yet again, I realized that if nothing else happened that weekend, it would be the greatest honor to walk a couple of miles with him. Imagine, marching the Bataan Memorial Death March with a Bataan Death March Survivor! It's extraordinary. 

My friend put me in contact with one of the wonderful people organizing the group, who in turn welcomed me warmly and invited me to join in their pre race dinner, despite my being a complete outsider! Well, this was all too good to be true, and honestly, looking back on the weekend, I couldn't have planned it to be more perfect. 

The evening before the race, everyone gathered for a dinner of true Mexican food (something you don't often find!) and ultimate southern hospitality (even rarer). My host graciously took me around, introducing me to the members of Ben's Brigade, and within minutes everyone seemed like old friends. When I was introduced to Col. Ben, I naturally told him about my uncle, Israel, the driving purpose behind my trip out to New Mexico. Of all the Bataan veterans I met that week, he was the only one I talked with who was held at Camp Cabanatuan during the same period of time as my uncle. His face fell when he heard the name of the camp, and he asked what month Israel died. "August 1942," I told him. "August," he repeated. "July and August had the highest death rates at Cabanatuan... we lost 100 men per day." And his eyes were moist.

That was when I realized something about him. Even at 99 years of age, after decades of remembering and sharing stories of Bataan, he is still moved by the sacrifices of our men. It was touching and beautiful to me. Col. Ben would laugh and tell jokes, always the life of the party, but he is also deeply sincere. He doesn't make this march each year for the publicity. He does it because he feels a duty and responsibility. He feels he owes it to the men who never came back.

Throughout the evening, despite Col. Ben being enormously popular, I had several opportunities to sit and chat about life, the war, his family's Cajun cooking, or the time his father, a choir boy, sang at President Jefferson Davis' funeral. The stories continued.

Listening to this American Treasure, I felt that the stories I was hearing... about Bataan, Cabanatuan, or pre-war life came as close as possible to listening to the stories my uncle would have shared, had he survived. 

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt.Ken Scar (his awesome photos can be found in pretty much every article about Col. Ben)

Each person I spoke with that evening had a different story of how he had touched his/her life, been an inspiration to them, or given a good dose of humor just when it was needed. I learned that as a newly appointed captain when the Battle of Bataan started, in a very short time his bravery had been awarded with two Silver Stars (3rd highest US military decoration) and four Bronze Stars. I can only imagine how inspired his men must have felt to have had him as a leader. No wonder then that two of his best friends nearly died trying to save his life when he became deathly ill at Cabanatuan! If only that type of leadership and courage could be bottled up! 

After the opening ceremonies on Race Day, Col. Ben and Ben's Brigade gathered at the start line waiting for all of the runners/marchers to get on their way before starting their trek. It was wonderful to watch people stop by and greet the Colonel and his entourage, old friends and first timers. About an hour after the first runner crossed the start line, Ben's Brigade heave-hoed and headed out. It was pretty terrific to watch this great orange crowd, enthusiastically led by Colonel Ben, move forward.

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt.Ken Scar (his awesome photos can be found in pretty much every article about Col. Ben). Note: A lady told me that in the 16 years she had been making the March, she had only seen flowers along the way ONE other time! A refreshing sight they were for all runners/marchers.

"You must take a picture at each mile marker to prove you actually did it!" 

The pace could have been considered slow for some people... but considering Col. Ben is nearly 100 years old, it was nothing short of absolutely impressive (I know I'll be fortunate if I'm mobile when I'm 80)!  And it's well known that slow and steady wins the race. At Mile 1, everyone paused to take a picture at the sign post, and Col. Ben gave a little speech about the necessity of taking a photo with each mile marker to prove you actually did it! Then at his command we moved forward.

Because of time constraints and the reality that I still had to complete 24 more miles, I peeled off from the Brigade after two miles. But those two miles were unforgettable. Nothing dramatic or earth-shattering happened, but it was simply the fact that here I was, marching the Bataan Memorial March with one of the men who survived the original Bataan Death March. Between chatting with members of Ben's Brigade and snatching a word or two with Col. Ben, I had to just pause mentally and take it all in. It was terrific. 

At the beginning I said this was a once in a lifetime experience. I think that's right. Everything about it. The March, Col. Ben, the connections with my uncle, the 99+ years of history it involved... I've never heard of another WWII veteran making a trek quite like this. And if you'll excuse a word that is often overused, but so true here: It was amazing. 

Mile 2 was my last mile with the wonderful members of Ben's Brigade, and Col. Ben himself. Right before heading out, I had to get a quick photo with the mile-marker, and longtime friend of Col. Ben, Steve Griffith. Friends for over 60 years, the secret? "Keeping in touch. You have to stay in touch."

So that is the story of Col. Ben and his fabulous Brigade. It's really only a tiny portion of the story. The story of an outsider who became an insider for a couple of days. It was one of the greatest honors for me to be included in such a wonderful group of people, so dedicated and honoring. The short time I had getting to know Col. Ben was truly the highlight of the week. It seemed to bring full circle years of reading and studying about Bataan and my uncle. And he was a living reminder for me, every step of the way.

When we headed out for White Sands, New Mexico, all I wanted was to meet a Bataan survivor and finish the marathon. That desire was more than granted. Not only did I meet many survivors, but I marched with one... even for only two miles. On top of that, I did complete the race -which is always a bonus. After 10 years of marching, who knows if Col. Ben will be up for it next year - at nearly 101 years old. Whether he does or does not... the legacy he has left will continue to inspire. 

Colonel Skardon crosses the finish line at mile 8.5. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt.Ken Scar (his awesome photos can be found in pretty much every article about Col. Ben). 

Running for Israel Goldberg: The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon

Look closely at the photo... The soldier next to the one carrying the flag is one of our Wounded Warriors, making the march with combat boots and a prosthetic leg. Absolutely inspiring! 

Bataan…Bataan. Bataan Falls! Bataan. 
Like the tramp of feet on the road of doom,
Like the bomber’s roar…like the canon’s boom.
Like the drums of death the words command
Men and women of every land
To stop! To listen! To understand!
To pulse our hearts to the weary beat. . .
Advance. . .retreat. . .advance . . .

The weekend is well over. The race completed 26.2 miles in blistering heat, and 22 of the 26 miles were in the most impossible sand surrounded by 7,200 incredible Americans who trudged the intense course, most of them in full military gear with a 35+ pound ruck pack, all to pay honor to the brave and heroic men of Bataan. Even now as I am collecting my thoughts on this past weekend, I am overwhelmed by the incredible honor it was to endure the brief and passing discomforts of a 26 mile march/run so that the sacrifices of the men of Bataan would be an everlasting memory. 

There are so many stories to tell that it’s hard to know where to start. There is little doubt that this was the hardest physical thing I've ever done in my life. It was a 26 mile up-hill battle against sand, dust, and wind, with the necessity to pause every mile or so to dump out loads of rocks and desert gravel from my shoes, muscles cramps, blisters, back aches, 90-degree temps (which even for a Texas girl can be difficult when it's reflecting directly off the sand), a vast desert emptiness with each mile marker more a reminder of how much more there was left rather than what had been accomplished, and the ever-endless line of marchers wrapping around the mountain as far as the eye could see. We truly looked like a ragamuffin bunch. 

As I was taking everything in, I realized the potential it had for being an incredibly depressing sight, with the feeling of hopelessness the men of Bataan must have felt on their dreadful march. Of course, theirs was truly desperate. 

But on the other hand, this memorial marathon could also be seen as a deeply inspiring sight. The fortitude of man and the ability we have to push ourselves beyond expectation never ceases to amaze me. And here were thousands of Americans willingly making an extremely arduous march, not for any machismo of themselves, but for the purpose of honoring the memory of Bataan and America’s KIA.

Who can complain or resist feeling inspired when you look around to find yourself surrounded by thousands of Americans and American soldiers, burdened by enormously heavy packs, some of them in unbelievable pain from leg cramps and the heat, marching forward nonetheless without complaint, one foot in front of the other, never quitting or even considering it! If that were not enough, just wait until you pass a group of our Wounded Warriors; watch them march through impossible sand with a prosthetic leg or two, or proudly carry the American Flag with a metal arm. Nine times out of ten, you’ll see pinned to the back of their jersey, camel-back, or ruck-pack a neat little photograph or bib bearing the name of one of our brave KIAs... from WWII to the present.

There is glory in such defeat.
For every man gave the best he had,
Bearded veteran. . .beardless lad
Gave of his strength, his hope, his life
For mother, brother, friend and wife.
Unknown heroes whose fame is sung
When “Bataan” is uttered by any tongue.

What happened at Bataan on April 9, 1942 was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. Next to the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, 77 years before to the day, America had never turned over so many men into the hands of the enemy. Had they known the horrors that would shortly happen at the hand of the Japanese, would they have fought to the death rather than surrender?

As the minutes turned into half-hours, the half-hours turned into hours, and the hours into more desert hills, I started to see in my companions glimpses of the 75,000 Filipinos and Americans back in 1942 on their march. Of course, Sunday’s marathon doesn’t begin to compare to the Bataan Death March, but it offered the tiniest taste of what happened. You find yourself imagining their mindset, the nuances and the ticks of what would keep an American POW - worn out by months of hard battle, little food, and much sickness - what would keep that man moving, enduring, even cracking an occasional joke? Is it that fierce American quality birthed by our Forefathers? An indefatigable spirit to persevere, even carrying a falling brother, a resilience and inner strength to defy being conquered by our enemies?

Whatever the case, speaking for myself, and probably the other 7,200 marchers/runners would agree... even the very small taste we got is one we won’t be forgetting quickly. 


More than ever, I am grateful to my great-great Uncle Israel for his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of every single one who gave his life during WWII. We will never understand fully what we were spared by the price they paid. Unlike them, at the end of the day, I got to take my shoes off, shower, eat a huge meal, drink all the water I wanted, and have a good night's sleep; while they remain in their cold, cold graves, buried somewhere at the Manila American Cemetery. 

We can't thank them in person, but we can thank the ones who are left on their behalf and in their memory.  This March was a very small way of thanking them and showing them honor where honor is certainly due. I hope my uncle, his buddies, and the men and boys of Bataan would be pleased to be so remembered.

Take those banners from wounded hands
And carry the battle to stricken lands.
Work and sacrifice, hope and give.
That glorious word must forever live,
Symbol of courage.  That splendid name
Should be stamped with blood and seared
With flame
On the heart of every woman and man,
Dare to forget it . . .if you can!

By Don Blanding April 9, 1942

"No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam" Pt. 2







By Frank Tiscareno

The Bataan Memorial Death March is upon us. Day after tomorrow, the girls and I head down to White Sands, New Mexico where we will listen to lectures on The First Battle of the Philippines, talk with family members of the soldiers who fought there, and meet the survivors of the horrible, horrible event. This is a dream come true. And the excitement must be high because I'm beginning to lose sleep over it. In a good way. 

One of the great discoveries of the last year, in relation to my uncle, was meeting Mr. Long, one of the veterans who attends the monthly luncheon in Fort Worth for WW2 vets. I mentioned it in a post here: Connections to my Uncle Israel Goldberg. Turns out Mr. Long was Aviation Mechanic with the 19th Bombardment Group, stationed at Clark Field, Philippines, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Just a little ways away serving in Headquarters section of the 24th Pursuit Squadron was my great-great uncle, Israel Goldberg.  Both Israel and Mr. Long no doubt experienced the same shock of hearing the news about Pearl Harbor, followed by the awful attack on Clark Field. Our forces gave a stout defense, but to no avail, and in the end, the Philippines fell into the hands of the Japanese. Mr. Long managed to escape with some of his unit in late December, but our uncle was taken prisoner (along with 75,000 other American and Filipino defenders) and survived the Bataan Death March only to die in the Japanese POW Camp Cabantuan a few months later.

In prepping for the race, I found the above photo... All I can say is it immediately brought the tears to my eyes knowing my great-great uncle would have been in this parade had he survived. 

As I've said several times before, a life-long dream has been to meet and talk with one of the survivors of Bataan. For a while, it seemed like our friend Mr. Long would be the closest we would get to knowing and understanding what our uncle went through. That and reading books. Actually, over the years I was in contact with a few survivors' wives, but unfortunately, the veterans passed away shortly before we could meet. But after all that, it looks like this dream might finally come true as a few of the last survivors of Bataan plan on attending this memorable event. You can be sure we will have lots of stories and photos after the race. If you want to keep updated until then, you can follow us here:

To Read: "No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam" Pt. 1

"No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam"

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:

Private Israel Goldberg

Connections to my uncle Israel Goldberg