Colonel Glenn Frazier had everyone arriving early this Memorial Day. The guest speaker at the VFW in Fairhope, AL, Col. Frazier knows all too well what this day means. He said:
Well it’s a time to honor the people that have passed away and get together with their families and try to cope with losing and understand some of things people like me had to go through.
Col. Frazier served during World War II and was taken captive in the Philippines in April 1942. Relating his story, the 91-year-old veteran told the crowded room about the Bataan Death March.
Col. Frazier was one of the approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan who were forced to make the 65-mile march to prison camps.
Thousands of them did not survive the arduous journey. Col. Frazier would spend the next three and half years as a prisoner of war, working in slave labor camps.
The veteran talked about nearly being executed:
The major came out there stuck that saber right up to my neck… It nipped my neck and I felt a little blood go down.
I had seen them execute several people… so I knew how it was going to happen.
The interpreter said do you have a last word.. Here’s the way I said it… I said yes I do!
He said well say it… Hateful like. I said he can kill me, but he cannot kill my spirit.
Col. Frazier escaped death that day, but was put in an isolation box, where he survived on a small bowl of rice and water.
Once the war ended, Col. Frazier returned home in 1945. But his captors were never far from his thoughts. He said:
I hated them with all the strength I had in my body.
The veteran later wrote a book, titled “Hell’s Guest,” recounting his experience and his journey to overcome the hatred. He explained:
I think the word forgiveness is unbelievable … A lot of people go through life and say they forgive this and that.. But it’s real hard to do.
Col. Frazier’s story will be featured in an upcoming movie. He says he is set to go back to the Philippines for the first time since the war to talk about his experiences with a Hollywood film crew.