Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridgeby Senator Richard Blumenthal
Posted on 2013-12-20
BLUMENTHAL. Madam President, today I wish to commemorate
the dedication of Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge in Weatogue, CT,
earlier this month.
Crossing over the Farmington River in Connecticut, this bridge will now honor the patriotism and courage of the brave men from Connecticut and across the nation who fought in the Battles of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942 in the Pacific during World War II. From January to April 1942, American and Filipino forces fought Japanese soldiers along the Bataan Peninsula and the island of Corregidor in the Philippines. When both fell to the Japanese, an estimated 10,000 American and Filipino troops were killed and 20,000 wounded. Another 15,000 American and 60,000 Filipino troops were taken prisoner and forced to endure the Bataan Death March.
Dan Crowley of Simsbury and Darrel Stark of Stafford Springs, who were there in combat, are the last two surviving residents of Connecticut who fought in these historic battles in the United States Army following the attack on Pearl Harbor. After Mr. Crowley fought in the Battle of Bataan, he refused to surrender and swam to the island of Corregidor where he was later [[Page S9099]] taken prisoner by the Japanese and endured 42 months in Japanese prison camps. His story is one of many heroic accounts from this theater during World War II.
The moving dedication ceremony included a flyover, musical performances, blessing of the bridge, ribbon cutting, and a stirring, closing bugle taps. I deeply appreciate the work of Mr. Crowley, State Senator Kevin Witkos, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation in creating this important symbol of our Nation's stalwart gratitude for the tremendous sacrifices of countless men during this series of battles. The Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge is vivid in its simplicity and elemental strength. It is not a grand structure, but like the men whose unimaginable courage we celebrate, it is there in its simple, physical strength.
We can never forget the service of the Greatest Generation, who protected our freedom and liberty--all who lost their lives and those who lived to pay tribute to their fellow comrades. This bridge will always be a memorial--a living memorial--used every day by all of us who will continue to remember and thank the brave patriots who fought so gallantly at Bataan and Corregidor.