Poem believed to have been written by 2nd Lt. Jacques Merrifield
while he was a POW at Cabanatuan POW Camp in the Philippine Islands

Them Things

There were strangest things done under the tropic sun

by men in khaki drill

These tropical nites held strange sights

that would make your heart stand still

Those mountain trails could spin some tails

that no man could ever like

But worst of all was after the fall when they started on the hike.


Twas the eight of December in '41

when they hit Hawaii as the day begun

Twas Sunday morning and all was calm

when out of nowhere came the bombs*!?

It didn't last long but the damage was done

America was at war with the Rising Sun


Now over the Philippines we heard the news

It shook every man clean down to his shoes

It seemed like a dream to begin

But soon every soldier was fighting man

Each branch was ready to do its part

Artillery, infantry  -- Nichols and Clark


But they came on that Monday noon

They hit Clark Field like a typhoon

That Monday nite the moon was clear

They razed Nichols Field from front to rear

As days went by more bombers came

until only a few P-40s remained


The day before Christmas they said retreat

and no more soldiers could be seen on the street

So across the bay we moved at night

away from Manila and out of sight

deep in the jungle of Bataan,

were fifteen hundred to make the stand


Here we fought like a soldier should

As the day went by we spilled our blood

Tho' the runners came and went by night

that convoy never came in sight.

April the seventh was the fatal day

when word went around that we could stay

that the front line was due to fall

and troops moved back one and all.


The very next day the surrender came

and then we were men without a name

You may thin that here's where the story ends

but here is where it actually begins

Tho' we fought and didn't see victory

The story of that march will go down in history.


We marched in columns of four

sweating, living the the horrors of war.

When a man fell along the way

A-C-B would make him pay

For those four months he fought on Bataan

and they killed him because he couldn't stand

The tropic sun would sweat us dry

For the wells were few that we passed by.

On we marched for a place unknown,

a place to rest, a place to call home.


Home that you might know

but home to a man who suffered the blow

On to camp O'Donnell in a mass

some never again through the gates to pass

In Nipa Huts we lived like beasts

and rice and camotes were called a feast

Our minds wondered of days gone by

when our throats were never dry

of our wives, mothers and friends

Of bygone days, and of many sins.


About four thousand passed away

 And how many more no one can say

For no grave stones mark the spot

where thirty to fifty were buried in a lot

Piled together like a rubbish heap

The remains of the men who were forced to retreat.


So I want to state and my words are straight

And I bet you think they are true

If you got to die it's better to try

to take them along with you too.

Now it's them that took you that fateful day

It's them that count you morning and nite

It's them again that you want to fight

It's them that make you as you are

But it is not them that will win this war

For the men in khaki will come some day

and take us back to the good old U.S.A.

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