Col. Ben Skardon march
March 18, 2017 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow Colonel Ben Skardon will participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March for the 10th time. Skardon is a survivor of the actual Bataan Death March, when about 75,000 Filipino and U.S. soldiers were surrendered to Japanese forces. Colonel Skardon is 99 years old.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What an amazing man doing this at his age!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:42 PM on March 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hell of a story, hell of a guy—thanks for posting it!
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on March 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

thanks so much for posting this. What a remarkable man who recounts his story so humbly. I would not have predicted that that video would put the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner in a context the way Mr. Skardon did.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:36 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

heavy respect
posted by thelonius at 7:04 PM on March 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is the first time I have heard of this hero or even of this march. He should have been honored loud and clear every year at this time, and we should pause to reflect on why these people march.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:15 PM on March 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

An incredible man and an amazing story. Thank you for posting this.
posted by nfalkner at 9:56 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

A true hero. I had heard from fellow runners about the annual memorial of the Bataan March in the US, but had not known that only one survivor remains. Great respect for this great man, and his annual journey. And great respect, too, for all who join him and recall their own travails on this hard route. .
posted by seawallrunner at 11:41 PM on March 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

seawallrunner, I'm not sure how many survivors remain. This man is the only survivor to participate in this march.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:27 AM on March 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I knew that survivors remained, and I've wanted to go for a while, but I had no idea that a survivor still marched, at his age. God bless him.
posted by corb at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2017

Is it just me, or is it a little strange to commemorate a war crime with a footrace?
posted by Steakfrites at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2017

It would be if it was how the Japanese acknowledged the anniversary.
posted by riruro at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Bataan Memorial Death March" does sound like a joke on first read, but it's obviously meant sincerely and I guess the survivors take it in that spirit? Remarkable guy, anyway.
posted by tavella at 11:29 AM on March 20, 2017

It's not a footrace, exactly. There's different segments, but the one I'm most familiar with is the team-with-rucksacks portion. You are crossing sand in blistering heat with full gear. My captain got heatstroke one year - it's hard even for the well trained. And you don't finish unless every member of your team finishes. If someone passes out, then you need to carry them. It is an incredibly moving tribute to those on the original Bataan Death March, who despite being wounded and starving, often carried their brothers in arms who could not continue, knowing that if their brother stopped moving he would be shot, and knowing if they themselves slowed too far through carrying them, they would also be shot.

I find the memorial pretty moving, anyway, myself.
posted by corb at 11:35 AM on March 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

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