Posted: May 27, 2013 10:31 PM by Steven Albritton
Updated: May 28, 2013 6:17 AM
James Bollich is a former prisoner of war. Proud of his service, but even more proud of the stories he gets to tell about his fallen comrades.
Monday, the retired U.S. Army Corp veteran placed a wreath during the Lafayette Memorial Park Cemetery Memorial Day Service, and saluted. He saluted to honor fallen comrades, some, who were his friends.
"I was fortunate in that I got back. Today is not my day. Today is for the men that didn't get back because so many didn't and they were so young," Bollich said.
Bollich was a prisoner of war during The Bataan Death March. In 1942, Japanese soldiers forced 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers to march 80 miles after surrendering. They marched with little to no food, no medical attention, endured physical abuse, and many were executed when falling behind the pack.
"All these young men could still be alive today if it hadn't been for the fact that the prison camp conditions were so bad, so many died,"
Boy Scout Drake Trahan and Boy Scout Troop 162 were also remembering the fallen. They placed more than 1200 American Flags across Lafayette Memorial Park Cemetery. Trahan as his eyes set on possibly joining the service in the future.
"I don't look at it as a celebration. I like to see it as mourning the past, because they did give the ultimate sacrifice whether they died there or if they passed here," Trahan said.
Troop 162 also beautified the cemetary not only as a community service project, but as a small memento for the veterans who attended Monday's ceremony.