He moved at his normal pace of two miles an hour, but stopped to rest or talk to people several times between each mile marker – something he hadn’t done in years past. Ben Skardon, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, speaks to members of “Ben’s Brigade” – a group of friends, family, former Clemson University students of his, and relatives of his fellow prisoners of war who accompany him.
Spirits rose as they reached one mile marker after another, but there was concern he might not make it the whole way this year. At mile marker six, he left the road to sit on a folding chair and rest in the shade of one of the support tents.
He says it’s his sacred responsibility to attend every year and walk with the thousands of others who come to honor his brothers-in-arms who didn’t survive the real Bataan Death March or the years of confinement in prisoner of war camps that followed. “I ought to do something, and the best way I know, physically, is to walk every time I get a chance in their memory.” He says nothing he does now, even at 99, can compare to the ultimate sacrifice his brothers-in-arms who didn’t return from the war gave.
Later on, Tagalog communities from southern Luzon migrated to parts of Bataan and the Ayta Magbeken migrated towards the mountain areas of Bataan by the end of the 16th century.
The swarm of orange T-shirts was only given competition as Skardon crossed through several bright yellow fields of blooming California poppies between the four and six-mile markers.
Skardon stopped at each mile marker to address his Brigade, usually with a joke or the cry “Oosh!
He walked eight and a half miles through the unforgiving New Mexico desert, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees, and refused to stop until he matched his distance from the previous nine years.
Skardon is a Clemson institution in and of himself so Clemson orange was the color of choice for the 64 members of “Ben’s Brigade” — his die-hard support group made up of friends, family, former Clemson University students of his, and relatives of his fellow prisoners of war — who accompanied him.In 1647, Dutch naval forces landed in country in an attempt to seize the islands from Spain.