Capas National Shrine
|Capas National Shrine|
The "Obelisk" at the Capas National Shrine
|For Filipino and American soldiers who died in Camp O'Donnell at the end of the Bataan Death March|
|Established||7 December 1991|
|Unveiled||9 April 2003|
|Statistics source: Philippine Veterans Affairs Office|
The Capas National Shrine (Tagalog: Pambansang Dambana ng Capas) in barangay Cristo Rey, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines was built by the Philippine government as a memorial to Allied soldiers who died at Camp O'Donnell at the end of the Bataan Death March during the Second World War.
The site is a focus for commemorations on Araw ng Kagitingan (Valour Day), an annual observance held on 9 April—the anniversary of the surrender of US and Philippine forces to the Imperial Japan in 1942. There is also a memorial to the Czechs and some Slovaks who died fighting alongside the Filipinos and US soldiers.
The area where the Bataan Death March ended was proclaimed as "Capas National Shrine" by President Corazon Aquino on 7 December 1991. The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland, 35 hectares of which have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the dead.
On 9 April 2003, a 70-metre obelisk and new memorial wall were unveiled on the grounds of the former interment camp. The obelisk is surrounded by a three-segmented, black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos known to have died during the Death March. There are also statistics about the total numbers of prisoners and deaths, together with poems for peace.
Nearby, there are three smaller memorials to the countries whose nationals died at the camp: the Philippines, the United States, and the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia). A small museum and monument is also on the site, built by an American group called the "Battling Bastards of Bataan".
A few hundred meters from the Obelisk is a garden separated from the rest of the shrine by a creek that can be crossed via a hanging bridge. The relics of an old train and railings are also located in the shrine complex.
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