Dan Bewley, News On 6
BRISTOW, Oklahoma -- It's been nearly 69 years since thousands of World War II prisoners of war made a 60 mile trek through the Philippines known as the Bataan Death March.
Those men were remembered this weekend; part of the memorial includes a green country man serving in the Air Force.
April 9, 1942, more than 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war marched 60 miles through a scorching heat on a malaria infested island.
11,000 men never finished the journey known to history as the Bataan Death March.
Nearly 69 years later those men and that march is being remembered. 6300 people walked 26 miles through the deserts of New Mexico for the Bataan Memorial Death March.
Mounds graduate, Senior Airman Marcus Creason, was among the crowd.
"Really, really excited I was able to finish. I didn't know if I was going to be able to or not but I was really glad I was able to and help support the survivors of the Bataan Death March," Marcus said.
"I'm proud of him, I'm just extremely proud of him for doing this," said Carol Creason.
Carol Creason is Marcus' mother. Her son has been in the Air Force for four years. He lost part of his arm during an accident on his San Antonio base.
"He's just very proud of serving his country and he felt this was a way to serve the ones who have served before him and that have died in service," Carol said.
This was the 22nd year for the memorial march. Its purpose is to remember and honor the men who endured days without food, torture at the hands of their Japanese captors, and went face to face with death nearly every step of the way.
"When we were first going out after the march started, there were several of the survivors lined up on our way out and went along and shook several of their hands. It was really good to be able to meet some of them," Marcus said.
Carol Creason says events like this help keep history alive and she believes honoring our past is a great way to develop our future.
"To show our pride and to stand strong for the United States and for our government and for what we believe. It's very important to know what's happened in the past," Carol said.
The Bataan Memorial Death March has been held every year since 1993. The only exception was in 2003 during Operation Desert Storm.