Keeping up with past and present happenings in a remarkable small town.
From "Ghostofbataan.com~Christmas Eve of 1941, with a very heavy heart, 28 year old Sergeant Abraham left his wife and three daughters in Manila as the Japanese Imperial Army closed in on the city.For the next four months on Bataan, the 31st Regiment fought a seemingly hopeless, but valiant battle against overwhelming, Japanese air, sea and land forces. Totally surrounded, without re-supply, the 31st was overpowered by tank cannons and small arms. The ensuing six days were spent in the 90 mile infamous Bataan Death March, from Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell, under brutal murderous Japanese guards. Abie watched some of his Comrades beheaded, bayoneted, skulls fractured, and the more fortunate, shot. For the next 1,000 sunrises (April 1942 - February 1945) SGT Abraham watched helpless as 4100 of his fellow prisoners die from crushed skulls, samurai sword, bayonets, bullets and torture. All the while suffering (some dying) from malnutrition, dysentery, malaria, beriberi, dengue fever, lice, bed bugs, hard labor, depression, food and medicine depravation. This was the daily routine of human forms stripped of their dignity.SGT. Abraham began recording names, origins, and messages from the prisoners, especially those who were in their death throes. Records were kept on can labels and paper scraps. Since the incarceration was meant to insure death beginning with a starvation diet of 800 calories daily, record keeping would have earned Abie an agonizing death if he had been caught.After rescue of the 6th Rangers in January 1945, in the office of General Douglas MacArthur in Manila, Abie agreed to stay in the Phillippines and exhume the remains of KIA's and murdered Americans, many of whom SGT Abraham knew in the flesh. The next 2-1/2 years were spent in the jungle eluding mines, booby traps, natural dangers, communists, and the Ghosts of Bataan.. Sgt. Abraham walked the fine line between sanity and insanity.In the above 2-1/2 years, Sgt Abraham was the key witness against Supreme Japanese Commander Lt. General Matasura Homma who was found guilty of war crimes and shot by a firing squad. During exhuming of graves on Bataan, a Japanese-Filipino came over to Abraham stating that the Japanese in the jungles wanted to surrender knowing the war was over and many were sick. Abraham promised the Japanese Major protection from the Filipinos. Abraham called the Army camp at the San Fernando, telling them about the Japanese wanting to surrender two days later a platoon from the anti-tank company arrived and took the Japanese to a prison camp. At a ceremony Abraham accepted the Japanese Samarai saber.Abraham was the only soldier who fought on Bataan to see the Japanese surrender.
I remember reading his book "Ghost of Bataan." It wasn't a technical literary masterpiece, but was incredibly moving, expressive and sincere. I heard him speak frequently on his experiences and thoughts on the Japanese when he tended bar at Michaels (? IIRC) by Gaylords.
We have lost a man we had an opportunity to learn from, to admire, to hold in the highest regard, and to honor. Hopefully enough of us did just that and we did not waste the precious time we had to share with him. While many of us regard him as a hero, and not to take anything away from Mr. Abraham, we should also give proper honor to the many other veterans who bravely fought in WWII.
Here is how Abie devoted himself to his fellow veterans: He spent more than 36,000 documented hours of volunteering at Butler's VA Hospital.
I wonder if our kids know about Abie or are even interested. WWII is ancient history, a boring history class subject.
A whole generation of WW11 Veterans are about to soon become a distant memory. It's a shame our younger generation will neverget to meet or know any of them.ngsita Nsurc
I think Abie set off the fireworks at Memorial park in the 60's, Butler and the USA's finest. I salute this great hero.Robert M Dorcy,CMSgt,USAF. Ret
You can see the Good Man in his face.
God Bless this Man! And true men all of the World War II guys are/were! Hats of to each and every one of them. I don't think the boys of today could endure what these men saw or lived. It is sad what our society has become. Thank you Abie and many others like him for our FREEDOMS! God Bless!
One tough guy. Every high school kid in Butler should be required to read his book. Unfortunately, most (not all) of our school's history teachers are coaches and have little interest in history.Abie was a true American Hero!
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