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In Memory of Abie Abraham

July 31, 1913 -  March 22, 2012
 

abie abrahamChristmas 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 Abraham in 1950Abie 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.

The mental and physical toughness, along with a high intellect and altruistic nature of this great American Patriot is the standard by which all Heroes can be measured..

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Sgt. Major ABIE ABRAHAM
http://ghostofbataan.com

 

 
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04/17/12
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