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8 young men honor Bataan Death March soldiers by walking 26.2 miles

By Alex Cabrero, KSL TV | Posted - Apr. 17, 2021 at 11:45 a.m.


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KAYSVILLE — A group of eight friends walked 26.2 miles in Davis County with heavy backpacks to honor the soldiers who were forced to do the Bataan Death March during World War II.

Even in the cold and rain, die-hard walkers and runners just can't say no.

"Oh, almost there," said the group. "We got six left."

Cadet Allen Clark woke up early Friday morning to meet up with his friends.

"Five a.m.," said Clark who is part of the Weber State ROTC program.

The goal was to walk 26.2 miles, the length of a marathon, while carrying a heavy backpack.

"This is 35 pounds," said Clark.

Clark said he and his friends felt like they had to do it.

"Give remembrance to the guys who had to do 60+ miles during World War II," he said.

It was at about this time in 1942 when the Japanese military forced tens of thousands of captured Filipino and American soldiers to move camps. They traveled 85 miles in just six days.

The event is known historically as the Bataan Death March, and this group of eight friends, who are part of the military themselves, wanted to honor them.

"Ultimately, we wanted to pay our respects to the 60,000-80,000 soldiers," said Sgt. Eddie Quimby with the U.S. Army.

Eight young men honor the Bataan Death March soldiers by walking 26.2 miles Friday, April 16, 2021.
Eight young men honor the Bataan Death March soldiers by walking 26.2 miles Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo: KSL TV)

They met in Davis County and walked on trails throughout the Kaysville, Layton and Clearfield areas — 13.1 miles out and 13.1 miles back.

"It's a lot of will and grit," said Clark. "You just put your mind into a place to do something like this."

It was mentally and physically tough carrying that much weight, but everyone involved knew it was nothing compared to what really happened.

Japanese soldiers stand guard over American war prisoners just before the start of the "March of Death" for the soldiers of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942. This photograph was stolen from the Japanese by the Philippines during Japan's three-year occupation in World War II.
Japanese soldiers stand guard over American war prisoners just before the start of the "March of Death" for the soldiers of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942. This photograph was stolen from the Japanese by the Philippines during Japan's three-year occupation in World War II. (Photo: AP Photo, U.S. Marine Corps)

"These guys were basically forced a march of death. They stop moving and they'd be killed, so you got to rely on your brothers and sisters to keep you in the right mindset and keep pushing ahead," said Clark.

That's why, no matter the weather or the pain, these friends said they had to do it.

"It's something I wanted to do," said Clark.

To them, the words "never forget" mean something.

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Alex Cabrero

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