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Philippines By Rick Martin This past May, Iloilo Baptist Church had its annual day for honoring veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Three soldiers who were killed in action in recent years were honored and remembered. Their families attended and were honored and thanked as well. About 50 members of the Philippine Army attended, and 13 soldiers who had been wounded were recognized and honored. Another 30 veterans were honored, including six World War II veterans who were 90 years old or older. During that war 1,421 men died fighting the Japanese on Panay Island. Several soldiers received Christ, along with the wife of one of the soldiers who died. Thirteen police officers also attended. The man who helped start this day was a World War II veteran and now an American citizen, Ricardo Hechanova. Ricardo Hechanova was taken as a prisoner of war and sent to the camp where the survivors of the Bataan Death March stayed. He became the officer in charge of burial duty and planned the burials and kept the records of Ricardo Hechanova all who were buried. He buried an estimated 6,000 Americans and 20,000 Filipinos. The most he buried in one day were 496 soldiers. He felt sorry for the young American soldiers who died so far from home, defending the freedom of another country. He said it was very hard on the soldiers who helped with the burials. They could hardly keep up with the digging of the graves, so they would dig very long trenches and then bury the soldiers, covering them with a thin layer of dirt. The next day more bodies were put on top. At first, dogs would come out at night and try to dig up bodies. The Japanese allowed the burial detail to post guards to protect the bodies. Mr. Hechanova would stay up at night in his little hut with a candle. He would try to accurately write down the details of the men buried that day. One night it was raining and he heard someone banging on the door. He thought it must have been the Japanese but when he held the candle up, he saw a soldier covered in mud. The soldier acted crazy. He had been buried alive! When it rained, he woke up. There were no doctors to pronounce the soldiers dead and they just assumed a soldier was dead and buried him. It is sad to hear these stories and what these men had to go through. They deserve to be honored. W Number 1, 2016 BIMI WORLD 21