Memorial Day Memories of Survivor of Bataan Death March

There was an important person missing from the front row of the Nacogdoches Memorial Day ceremony . One could only reminisce how World War II veteran Berdine Adams, with his wife Louise, would always be there to remember, while others forgot. Adams passed away last month, at the age of 88.

While not at the Memorial Day ceremony in flesh and blood, the former POW was there in spirit receiving a full military honor.   Adams was a private in World War II before his 18th birthday. After surviving the infamous Bataan Death March, he spent three years in a POW camp. Remarkably he lived to tell about it.

Adams' son, Frank Adams said,  "I could tell you things that he told me over the years that would just make your skin crawl." As a child, Adams' son never knew of the atrocities. The senior Adams began revealing the mysteries of war to his adult children as late as twenty years ago.   Adams said,  " He told me right up to weeks before he passed away, " I still fight 'em every night--every night. But like I said, he didn't let that dominate his life." For Adams is best known for his keen wit, charm and kindness. His sister in law, Carolyn Rogers cared for Adams in his final days. She said,  " He was a family man. He believed in God, family and country. "

In one of Adams' last interviews he spoke about the importance of Memorial Day.   "Well, I'm still proud to be around people who still remember. And we all think it happened for a good reason. We think the Lord led us for what we had done."

Another World War II veteran is gone, but his memory will be cherished by family, friends and those who recognize the importance of serving the United States of America.

There was once 16 million U.S. veterans of World War II. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, World War II vets are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day.