Thursday, December 14, 2017

Don't let Barnes&Noble forget


December 14, 2017 is the the 74th anniversary of the Palawan Massacre. One hundred fifty POWs on Palawan Island in the Philippines to build an airfield were herded into narrow air raid trenches, doused with gasoline, and set afire. Machine gun bullets and grenades followed.

Their commanding officer, Capt. Fred T. Bruni from Janesville, Wisconsin (US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown) was the first to die with the officers in the first trench. The Japanese soldiers delighted in prolonging the torture with their bayonets of those who tried to escape the flames. That evening they held a raucous party to celebrate their accomplishment. Miraculously, 11 men escaped to swim the bay to safety and 10 survived to record the atrocity.

read about the escape
The photo above was taken March 20, 1945 by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. It shows a grave of the charred remains of an American POW who was murdered in Palawan Massacre. The U.S. Air Force retrieved the bones in March 1945 soon after the Island was liberated. The remains of 123 victims were first interred at the United States Air Force Cemetery Leyte #1 in the Philippines. In 1952, the remains were exhumed and moved to the United States to be re-interred in a mass grave in Section 85, Site 14-66, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. A new marker was dedicated at the site in 2003 to honor the victims.

This famous photo, however, has been appropriated by Barnes&Noble for the cover of its 2004 Classic Series edition of Dracula! This is disrespectful. This is wrong. The remains of this American serviceman is not fiction. 

You are urged to write Mary Ellen Keating, Barnes&Noble's Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, mkeating@bn.com and urge her to have the cover changed. The President of the ADBC-MS wrote her a letter in December 2016. She has yet to receive an answer. Your voices are now needed.

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