From press and staff reports
In honor of the Winston Countians who were part of the World War II Bataan Death March, a plaque was placed in the Winston County Courthouse May 25.
State Senator Giles Ward opened the ceremony and gave a brief history of the Death March.
On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers had to surrender to Japanese forces. The Americans were Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines. They were marched for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles for over 80 miles. Thousands died. Those who survived faced the hardships of a prisoner of war camp. On the march, the prisoners faced abuse and death at the hands of the Japanese soldiers.
At least two Winston Countians were on the march. Bill Tabor survived the March and returned home to Winston County and opened and operated Tabor Drugs for many years. His wife Francis Tabor daughters daughter, Mary Tabor, Brenda Hunt, Charlotte Nabors attended the event honoring his sacrifice. His son William Tabor III was unable to attend.
Roy Hodge also survived the march but the ship carrying him home was torpedo and he died at sea during the war.
Also, honoring the Winston Countians who were in the march, was
U.S. marine David Mitchell of Louisville who has participated in The Bataan Memorial Death March which is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.
Mitchell thanked all those who supported his reenactment of the march and the placing of the plaque at the courthouse.
Mississippi Granite Works of Louisville donated the plaque.
The plaque reads:
Dedicated to all the servicemen from Winston County and other members of the U.S. Armed Forces who participated in the defense of Bataan and subsequent Death March April 1942.
“Courage is a quality God has seen fit to dispense with upmost care. The men of Bataan were His chosen favorites.”
Major General Edward P. King, Jr.
Commanding General, Luzon Forces 1942