This is my wife's father, Mat Braun. Mat is turning 93 on November 30, 2009. We want to make a big deal of his birthday and make him feel special.

Mat is a great guy that has quite a history. He was in the Japanese theater during WWII. Mat was forced to march in the Bataan Death march on April 10, 1942. He was held captive by the Japanese for 3.5 years.

The march, involving the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Philippines from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities inflicted upon the prisoners and civilians along the route by the armed forces of the Empire of Japan.

Beheadings, cut throats and casual shootings were the more common actions compared to bayonet stabbings, rapes, disembowelments, numerous rifle butt beatings and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat.

Mat witnessed many if his friends killed and pushed into ditches while the survivors were expected to continue marching.

Thanks to guys like Mat, we live free.

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