ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People gathered Saturday at the Bataan Memorial Park to remember the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the lives lost on the Bataan Death March. The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico commemorates the event on the first Saturday in April.

Of the 1,800 New Mexico National Guardsmen who were on Bataan, 900 survived the death march and came home – three are still alive today. For those at the event, they say it’s vitally important to keep the memory of those men alive.

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“It wasn’t a good day for these veterans, it was a day where they went through a living hell because they were captured and surrendered, my father and a lot of veterans served three-and-a-half years as prisoners of war,” said Agapito J. Silva, president of the New Mexico Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation. “My dad used to always say, he told me, he died on Father’s Day in 2007 – ‘Don’t forget, always remember,’ and in my heart I tell him ‘I’ll always remember.'”

Bataan was eventually liberated by the United States and Filipino troops in April 1945.