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RueArticle2 - Bataan survivors want to be repaid (Continued...
Bataan survivors want to be repaid (Continued from Page Al.) March and slavery-like slavery-like slavery-like imprisonment imprisonment he and thousands of Americans and Filipinos endured. endured. The memories are particularly particularly strong now as this is the 60th anniversary of one of the most shameful chapters in American military history. But the meal is more than a memory of what happened in the past It's become a metaphor metaphor for what hasn't happened since then. "I recall it like it was yesterday," yesterday," said Rue. 1 had given a fellow prisoner 20 yen to buy something for me. A Japanese officer stopped my friend and asked where he had gotten so much money. When the officer found out it was me, he gave me a beating." . But a few days later, the Japanese officer dropped by Rue's prison dormitory and motioned for the American army captain to follow him. "He brought me into his quarters, fixed some food on his little wok and shared his meal with me. That happened three times," said Rue. "We didn't say anything to each other. I didn't understand Japanese Japanese and he didn't understand understand English. But we both understood food." Wants compensation While Rue still appreciates that rare gesture of kindness during his nearly three years of imprisonment in Japan, he doesn't believe it compensates him for what he had to endure. endure. . And just as he and his captors captors understood the language of food 50 years ago, he believes believes the U.S. and Japanese governments need to understand understand the language of fairness today. "A lot of Americans and Filipinos Filipinos were treated rough during during our captivity in World War II. I got off lightly compared to a lot of men," said Rue, a soft-spoken soft-spoken soft-spoken man who now lives in Lexington. "I bear no hatred toward individual individual Japanese. War is hell for everybody," said Rue. "But the thought has crossed my mind that if the United States has compensated the Japanese-Americans Japanese-Americans Japanese-Americans Japanese-Americans who were placed in internment camps during the war, then Japan should compensate the survivors survivors of their prison camps. "It's simply a matter of fairness." fairness." That thought has been crossing the minds of many survivors, including the members members Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion, which Rue commanded until it arrived in the Philippines. The battalion included a total of 66 Mercer County men, and about 15 are still auve. Report says agriculture secretary under investigation for role in S&L CHICAGO CAP) Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Edward Madi-gan Madi-gan Madi-gan served seven years as a director of a savings and loan seized by federal regulators and sold at a cost of more than $111 million to taxpayers, a newspaper reported Saturday. Madigan, a former Illinois congressman, was on the board of Olympic Federal Savings Savings Association from September September 1983 until June 1990, the Chicago Tribune said. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Saturday that federal officials were investigating investigating whether Madigan and Mercer men recall In recent interviews, Rue - and his comrades - said they wholeheartedly support the efforts efforts of the American Defenders Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Inc. to obtain from the Japanese Japanese government $20,000 in compensation for each survivor survivor in a tit-for-tat tit-for-tat tit-for-tat tit-for-tat tit-for-tat for the same amount that the UJS. government government paid survivors of the Japanese-American Japanese-American Japanese-American internment internment camps. The way Rue looks at it, the 20 yen he had when he was a prisoner may not be equal to the $20,000 he's seeking as an ex-prisoner ex-prisoner ex-prisoner on the currency exchange but it is on the humanity humanity exchange. ADBC is working on several fronts, including the United Nations Commission on Human Human Rights, where it has filed claims, and the White House, where it is urging President Bush to lean on the Japanese government instead of trying to appease it for economic purposes. purposes. So far, though, the White House says its hands are tied because all claims were settled in the 1951 peace treaty. Fairness Survivors think the U.S. can untie its hands in the name of fairness. "If we can pay the people who were interned over here, they can pay us for being imprisoned imprisoned in forced-labor forced-labor forced-labor camps over there. And we were treated a lot worse than the Japanese-Americans," Japanese-Americans," Japanese-Americans," said Kenneth Hourigan of Burgin, who was in the 192nd and is a member of the ADBC. Hourigan, 78, escaped after spending a only couple of days on the Death March on Bataan. However, he was recaptured recaptured on Corregidor and spent 3Va years in prison. "They were as rough as they could be. The way they treated us was horrible. If s something I'm going to live with until the day I die," he said. Bland Moore, 71, of Danville, Danville, another member of the 192nd and now of the ADBC, hopes that if any compensation compensation agreement is reached, it will benefit the families of those who died on the march, in prison or since the war, as well as the survivors. 'Nightmares sometimes' "I do have nightmares sometimes, sometimes, and I know some guys who live through it daily," said Moore. "But I don't go around feeling sorry for myself. I was one of the lucky ones. A lot of men died." Moore said during three years of captivity he went from 187 to 118 pounds, suffered suffered a "minimum of 60 beatings," beatings," and endured one episode where he had to stand at attention attention for 13 hours, had eight Olympic's other directors were negligent in managing the thrift, which was based in suburban suburban Berwyn. The investigation is a standard standard in S&L failures, The Times reported. Olympic was seized by federal federal regulators in December 1990. Pieces of the thrift were sold Friday by the Resolution Trust Corp. to 12 other institutions. institutions. Regulators say its failure failure will cost taxpayers more than $111 million. Madigan "has not been alerted to any investigation," spokesman Roger D. Runnin-gen Runnin-gen Runnin-gen said. UJ3. and Filipino soldiers begin what was later called the "Death March" from an unnamed unnamed location on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines following surrender of Bataan to the Japanese in April 1942. An estimated 10,000 prisoners, including 2,000 Americans, died on the forced 60-mile 60-mile 60-mile march to prison camps. teeth knocked out and then was tied to a tree for four days. "But the worst part was seeing seeing men 50 to 100 a day dying, and witnessing others being executed or tortured," he said. "The psychological aspects were the most terrifying. You never knew when they would beat you or execute somebody because you didn't know what set them off," said Moore. "One time, I thought I was going going to be executed. I told a friend to tell my family that I died like a man. Then, in a split second, the Japanese officer officer changed his mind and told me to go back to work. "I don't hate the Japanese race. But I do hate the Japanese Japanese who beat me and my friends," Moore said. "For that, the Japanese government government owes us compensation." Survivors believe their suffering suffering surpassed what should have been inflicted on a defeated defeated army. Prisoners were forced to work for Japan's war effort as slave labor, in violation violation of the Geneva Convention. Convention. Many soldiers died The more than 75,000 soldiers, soldiers, including 12,000 Americans, Americans, who surrendered on Bataan were herded 60 miles to the north in the notorious Death March. Nearly 10,000 died along the way, many of them killed by their Japanese captors. It was the worst defeat ever suffered by the United States. Shame was compounded by the fact that thousands of Americans and their allies had been left to fend for themselves. themselves. Morale was kept alive by false promises of a relief convoy convoy when President Franklin D. Roosevelt already had committed committed the nation's resources to defending Britain and Europe. Europe. "How typically American to writhe in anguish at the fate of a distant cousin while a daughter is being raped in the back room " Manuel Quezon, president of the Philippine Commonwealth, said at the time. ... ." . MacArthur intervenes Earlier, as war with Japan loomed, Gen. Douglas Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur was called out of re Vr tirement and sent to organize the defense of the Philippines. Congress refused to provide enough money to defend the islands adequately. Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur was left with about 20,000 Americans and 110,000 poorly trained and poorly equipped Filipinos. Hours after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, its planes struck the Philippines Philippines and destroyed most of MacArthjr's aircraft at Clark field. On Dec. 22, 1941, Japanese troops landed at the Lingayen Gulf, 110 miles north of Manila. Manila. Two days later, Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur Mac-Arthur declared Manila an "open city" and withdrew his forces to the jungles of Bataan. MacArthur, Quezon and their staffs evacuated to Corregidor, Corregidor, a rocky island about the size of Manhattan three miles off Bataan at the entrance entrance to Manila Bay. Bataan and Corregidor appeared appeared impregnable. Three major volcanic mountain ranges cross Bataan, a finger of land 30 miles long and 20 wide between Manila Bay and the South China Sea. The only road leading southward southward through the peninsula flanked Manila Bay to the east On the westerly side are steep mountains ideal for artillery artillery positions. Food not available In the confusion, however, the defenders failed to bring along enough food and supplies. supplies. Dr. Paul Ashton of Santa Barbara, Calif., then a medical officer, scrounged all the supplies he could from Manila's Manila's Fort McKinley, now Fort Bonifacio and rushed to Bataan, where he set up a field hospital "Our unit was very well trained," Ashton said, "but we didn't have any food." "People not around then think we lost the battle. They don't realize we were defeated before it started because we had no food or supplies," said Moore. Rations were steadily reduced reduced to less than 1,000 calories calories a day. Desperate soldiers survived by boiling banana bushes and foraging for lizards and snakes. Sardines for 12 ' "We would have one small THE KENTUCKY ADVOCATE, AP Photo can of sardines for 12 men," said retired Brig. Gen. Luis Villareal, then a Filipino major major in the 21st Artillery. "We would mix that with whatever porridge the cooks could prepare." prepare." Plans called for reinforcements reinforcements to arrive within six months, but the destruction at Pearl Harbor made that impossible. impossible. For morale purposes, the U.S. military withheld both details of Pearl Harbor and Roosevelt's decision to concentrate on Europe. On Corregidor, naval officers learned the truth. A submarine, submarine, the USS Trout, brought some supplies in February 1942, and officers aboard were told no relief convoy was coming. coming. On March 11, MacArthur, Quezon and their staffs fled to Australia. On Good Friday, April 3, the Japanese attacked the main defensive line at Mount Samat, hurling defenders defenders toward the tip of the peninsula. peninsula. Bataan surrendered six days later, and Corregidor on May 6. Dates not important Those dates are important to history, but not to Edwin Rue. Ironically, the most important date to him is Thanksgiving. "As a soldier, I arrived in the Philippines on Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day 1942. As a prisoner, I arrived in Japan on Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day 1943," said Rue. And as a beating victim, he arrived in a Japanese officer's quarters for what turned out to be a simple meal for which he is grateful to this day. "I thought it was going to be my last supper, but Fm thankful it turned out to be a gesture of humanity," he said. But Rue thinks it's time that the U.S. and Japanese governments governments undertake a bigger gesture gesture of humanity something easier to swallow than a bowl of rice and fish from his Japanese Japanese captor and a platter of excuses from his country. Some information in thi$ story was provided by The As sociated Press. of the at the car of this to a in without He said and the out" If years

Clipped from The Advocate-Messenger29 Mar 1992, SunPage 7

The Advocate-Messenger (Danville, Kentucky)29 Mar 1992, SunPage 7
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