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2007/12/21

Bataan Death March Survivor

This morning I spent some time with a Bataan Death March survivor - Timothy Smith. As far as we can tell, he is the last survivor of the march to still reside in Gallup. What amazed me was that there are days I cannot even remember what I had for breakfast, and yet Smith was able to sit in his home and recall details of living through being a Japanese POW.

At times SMith rambled a little, and a few times he repeated himself. He laughed at the stories he told, and then became quite quiet and introspective. I wondered what memories were still creeping back into his mind, and at the same time I knew I don't want to find out.

Long-time Gallup resident and Bataan Death March survivor Timothy Smith reflects on his time spent as a POW during WWII, and the life he has lived as a Gallupian since the war ended. Smith said the experience brought him into contact with some Gallup residents and once the war ended he moved to Gallup, "Us New Mexico boys, one thing we did, we stuck together."

The handwriting is faded and slightly smeared, but Smith and his wife still have several notebooks that he wrote in during his time as a POW. The notebooks, and the pencils used to write in them, had to be hidden at all times to keep his captors from confiscating them.

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