April 12, 1942

First reports on the fall of Bataan.

Said a newspaperman who was allowed to view the fighting areas:

Once thriving communities that lay in the path of the fighting are now mere shambles and blackened debris. Guagua, Samal, Hermosa, Balanga, Lamao where fighting was protracted bore the brunt of furious shelling and the fighting that followed. Demolished structures, charred vegetation, bullet-splattered shelters, blasted dwellings and abandoned, upturned army trucks and cars—with neither man nor beast in sight—gave mute testimony of what had taken place there previously. Balanga, (the) capital, like other Bataan towns had been obliterated, with hardly a structure escaping the fierce barrage. The cathedral struck by direct artillery hits now lies in crumbled ruins, a mere pile of mortar and stone. The municipal buildings, the water-tower and residential houses around the plaza have been destroyed and the rest of the town wiped out by fire. All along in the wake of the juggernaut of war, towns and barrios follow ____. Huge bomb craters, gaping shell holes by the roadway and fields indicate where artillery duels and air attacks have been fiercest…

Said a radio commentator:

Unkempt, disheveled, haggard, bewildered, many suffering from exposure, others hardly able to walk from lack of nourishment, they came… the old and infirm, the young, the women, tired, timorous, terror-stricken, bedraggled beggars of life, they appeared, many with only the clothes on their back, some with bare necessities, scores with emaciated, blue-lipped infants clasped in their arms…

Said the Tribune:

On that day, from sunrise until dusk, the hillsides and shell-churned fields were brown with staggering, stumbling men—the defeated Filipino-American forces. By the hundreds, they came—blackened by the Bataan heat, hollow-eyed, wasted, exhausted and sore-afflicted, their lips parched with thirst, their eyes wild from near-starvation, their faces yellow with malaria…

Said the Japanese Propaganda Corps:

The Americans placed the Filipino on the front lines and stayed in the rear, compelling Filipino soldiers to fight…

Said a Filipino columnist:

During their several months stay in Bataan, the Americans never gave the refugees food. It was a pitiful sight to see them lining up in the heat of the scorching sun with bandaged injured legs and yellow dirty dust all over them, thin from starvation, fatigue and haggard, sick and…

Said a Manila society girl:

Oh dear, dear, I wonder what time the dancing will begin…

Said a mother kneeling before an altar:

O Lord…


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