photo 1 rsSen. John Arthur Smith is the speaker.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Spann.
By Danna Lopez

On Monday, April 9, the Gaffney-Oglesby Marine Corps League Detachment 1328 traveled to Deming to participate in the annual Bataan Death March Tribute presented by the Bataan Elementary School's fifth graders.

photo 2 rsPhoto of Bataan Memorial Courtesy of Natasha Jassophoto 3 rsMembers of the Gaffney-Oglesby Marine Corps League Detachment 1328. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Spann.photo 4 rsMarine Corps League Detachment 1328 presents the colors.
Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Spann.
The ceremony was impressive, to say the least. Detachment 1328 presented colors and the Deming High School JROTC provided a short presentation with the utmost precision. Student Chloe Gray sang the Star-Spangled Banner and the fifth-grade students recited the poem "Heroes," which honors men and women in uniform who serve our nation. Each student took a turn speaking during the ceremony, which included opening the program, introducing guests and dignitaries, and reading a brief Death March history. They each took turns reading the names of the Death March service members from Luna County during a very moving "roll call" while quietly marching in place. The fifth graders then sang "We the People," as well as an Armed Forces Medley, and Deming High School student Alejandro Torres completed the afternoon with a flawless rendition of TAPS on his trumpet. Other guests included in the ceremony included Congressman Steve Pearce's representative, Mariana Chew; Deming's Mayor, Benny Jasso; and Keynote Speaker, Senator John Arthur Smith.

It is most noteworthy that all of the songs, recitations, and readings were done by memory without prompts or notecards. These students and their teachers, Mrs. Huff, Mr. Olson, Mrs. Perea, and Mrs. Simms, demonstrated exemplary academics and patriotism last week in this moving and beautiful tribute to the Bataan Death March survivors and casualties. Both Ivy Baca, Principal and Patty Trevizo, Assistant Principal were there to support the students and teachers knowing that it is imperative that the true history of this school's namesake be taught and passed on to each generation.

In a time when both students and schools are seen in a very dim light, this school is to be commended. We owe them a well-deserved thank you for dedicating months to presenting not only a phenomenal program, but for preparing these students with a real education. Well done staff and students of Bataan Elementary School and, thank you!

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