Dominican College hosted events on Saturday, April 8, 2017, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. The College sits on what was once Camp Shanks, the World War II base that was the largest point of embarkation for soldiers headed to Europe. New City resident Jerome Kleiman organized the event, which included a symbolic march on Bataan Road. “Bataan is not part of the typical narrative of WWII any longer. I came to the realization that the 75th anniversary of the Death March would be the perfect point in time and Bataan Road the ‘only’ location to hold the commemoration so as to honor the heroic troops of Bataan and breathe fresh life into their saga,” said Kleiman.
The event began with a symbolic march from Tappan Zee High School to Return Home Park on Bataan Road in Orangeburg. A ceremony and entertainment then took place on a stage in the Dominican College parking lot off Western Highway. The performers included Edward Simons, a 100-year-old violinist who accompanied President Truman by ship on his way to the Potsdam Conference to meet with Stalin and Churchill at the close of WWII.
Dominican College Adjunct History Instructor Dr. Scott White was among the presenters at the 3:30 p.m. symposium in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall. Dr. White spoke about the role of Native Americans during WWII. He has also organized student volunteers to assist during the event. “This event is a unique opportunity for DC students to witness how history is more than just a book, but something that is living and tangible,” he said.
During the Commemoration, WWII veterans in attendance were recognized and a memorial plaque was unveiled at Return Home Park.