The following information was given out to the marchers, so it would be easier for them to enter the event area the morning of the march. “Motorists are asked to have their vehicle pass prominently displayed in their windshield and to have their IDs ready when they are entering the post”
“Passengers must also have their IDs ready. Personnel who do not have a picture ID will experience lengthy delays outside the gate while their information is completely checked. Motorists should not be surprised if they or their vehicle(s) are searched. â€œEveryone is subject to search.â€ Marchers should plan on arriving at the gates no later than 4:30 a.m. Motorists coming in from the El Paso gate are asked not to come in after 4:45 a.m., or they will run the risk of being stuck in traffic. Martin Luther King Avenue will be closed to all traffic at 5:30 a.m. Â Random NCIC checks will be conducted on those personnel entering the installation.”
Under an American Flag the size of a billboard, a Sunday morning crowd of more than 6,000 waits in the predawn darkness at White Sands missile Range for the 26.2 mile Bataan Memorial Death March to begin. To the west, the half-moon illuminates the jagged outline of the Organ Mountains. The majority of participants are civilians, but there are 500 soldiers, mostly men, who are marching in the “military heavy” division and wearing full combat uniforms, including boots and a 35/50 pound rucksack. The rucksack is filled with bags of dried beans or rice to make up the 35/50 pounds. After the march the beans and rice were donated to the local food bank.
This is the schedule for the Opening Ceremonies for the March.
The lineup and the order in which the marchers will start.
As the Organ Mountains turn pink against the rising sun, Brigadier General Timothy Coffin, the commanding general of White Sands Missile Range, pays tribute to the estimated 100 remaining survivors of the Bataan Death March, 10 of whom are sitting on the stage next to him. The opening ceremony of the event culminated with an honorary roll call of the Bataan Death March survivors. The men were covered with blankets being assisted by their accompanying caregivers until the start of the ceremony. In the pin-drop silence their names rang out into the cool desert morning air.
Taps plays as the marchers solemnly move in mass toward the starting line. Many say it is good to go slow to memorialize what happened and to finish at sundown, just remember – what you are about to do is quality suffering. A cannon firing at 7 a.m. mark the beginning of the march. There were four subsequent cannon firings after the 7 a.m. firing that will marked the start of each division. Steve, with his hands in his pockets, waiting to start on the course. Steve found the gray hoodie at Wal-Mart for $5.00. It was to be his “throw away” sweatshirt when the temp started to rise. He liked it so much he didn’t want to leave it along the course. When the race is over, there are people who pick up “throw away” clothing and it is donated to a local thrift store.