PAST IS PROLOGUE: Community members march in a Maywood Bataan Day parade held in the 1950s. | Submitted photo

On Sunday, Sept. 8, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Veterans Memorial Park in Maywood, one of the longest-running World War II memorial events in the country will take place — the 77th Annual Maywood Bataan Day. 

“Today, no survivors are alive from the more than 100 young Maywood men of the 33rd Tank Company which was Federalized and sent to fight in the Philippines even before World War II began,” according to a statement released earlier this month the Maywood Bataan Day Organization. 

“Yet their memory lives on in this moving community tribute to their sacrifice in the face of harrowing battles, surrender, and harrowing imprisonment after the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942. The citizens of Maywood were feeling helpless in the face of terrible events on the other side of the earth. But they were not passive; they decided to do something about it. 

“They quickly arranged an astounding show of support. On September 11, 1942, an estimated 30,000 people lined 5th Avenue in this suburb to watch hundreds of children march in support of the war effort. Later, a larger parade would step off – this second parade lasted 3 hours and involved literally thousands of participants. Bands, floats, celebrities, and politicians all marched to show their support for Maywood – and for all the small towns, that had placed their loved ones in harm’s way to fight for freedom.”

There’s more to the story. Experience it on Sept. 8. 

Veterans Memorial Park is at First Avenue and Oak Street in Maywood.

Michael Romain 

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