April 9th is designated by Congress as the Presidentially proclaimed observance of National Former POW Recognition Day, a day to honor the American servicemen and women that have experienced unimaginable trials and profound cruelty as prisoners of war.
April 9th is a significant date, because, on this date in 1942, the Bataan Death March began. This event was the forcible transfer, (later classified as a war crime), by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war over sixty miles on foot, where they endured beatings, torture, and little food and water. Thousands of these POW's died.
Former prisoners of war have withstood days, months, and sometimes years of imprisonment, missing irreplaceable milestones and simple moments at home. But they were never forgotten; they were remembered every day by loved ones.
As we reflect on the sacrifices that have made progress throughout our world possible, we are reminded of our solemn duty to serve our former prisoners of war, their families, and all our veterans as well as they served us.