SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WRBL) – It’s been 79 years since thousands of troops perished in the Bataan Death March. For the first time ever Smiths Station held their own memorial event.
The original Bataan Memorial Death March usually happens at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico every year. However, due to COVID-19 it’s being held virtually this year.
This has allowed over 200 different groups or individuals across the globe including Smiths Station to host their own events.
The City of Smiths Station, Smiths Station Ruck Club and Smiths Station High School track team collaboratively hosted the event.
Creator of the 14.2 mile course, Lee Rollins said when he was approached to help with this event by Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland he immediately agreed to take part.
“It’s really honestly, I think this is amazing because for the last two weeks over 200 locations all over the globe, groups are actually doing this either individually or in groups.” said Rollins
The event began at 8 a.m. at the Smiths Station Sports Complex. There was an opening ceremony that included Timothy Frost, one of the event organizer, reading a poem written by one of the troops from the Bataan Death March.
The event was free to the public and participants received dog tags with the names of troops who perished in the Bataan Death March, to wear while completing the memorial march.