From AmCham Journal May 2008, by permission
The old rail boxcar sits firmly on a concrete platform in its new location within the grounds at Capas National Shrine, Capas…the site of the former Camp O’Donnell Prisoner of War Camp. The camp was the terminus of the infamous Bataan Death March: final resting place of approximately 10,000 Filipinos and 5,000 Americans, of the approximately 70,000 who made the forced march, under the guns and bayonets of the Japanese Imperial forces in 1942.
April 6, 2008 was a hot, humid day on the central plains of Luzon — and not unlike another in April 1942 when U.S. Army Sgt. Malcolm Amos originally made the trip to Camp O’Donnell, as a part of that march.
This year he came as an honored veteran, to attend the dedication of this historic boxcar, recently serendipitously found by Mrs. Indira Kane, in a military camp some miles away — falling into disrepair from neglect. At the simple dedication ceremony, Amos — flanked by the Filipino and American flags, as the sun was setting — shared some of his hellish experiences of 63 years ago, along with Col. Rafael Estrada who was close to tears recounting his own recollections.
The dedication ceremony was also attended by Capas dignitaries, as well as Mr. Jon Skelly, Director of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Manila, numerous members of the Philippine Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Richard McMahon of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, Illinois, Mr. James Litton, representative of the Battling Bastards of Bataan, Mrs. Leslie Ann Murray of the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment, Inc., and Mr. Rhonie de la Cruz and members of the Bamban Historical Society who oversaw the moving of the boxcar, and a heartening number of young people.
A spry 84-year-old, Amos visits the Philippines every other year — and vows to return next year… by which time, he hopes the boxcar will be provided with adequate covering to shelter it from the elements — it is a valuable relic of near-forgotten Filipino-American history.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund for this shelter is encouraged to visit the FAME donations page on this site by clicking here.
To learn more about the POW Box Car Project, please click here.