Friday was a very important anniversary in the history of Carlsbad. April 9, 2021, marked the 79th anniversary of the beginning of the Bataan Death March that took place during World War II. A significant number of Carlsbad residents, including several who had been park rangers at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, were captured by Japan after the fall of the Philippines. American and Filipino prisoners of war, were forcefully and brutally marched more than 60 miles to Camp O’Donnell.
This year’s Bataan Memorial Death March, held at White Sands Missile Range, is still being held as a virtual event. The march’s web page reports more than 6,800 registrations, from all U.S. states and 22 countries, are participating in activities this weekend.
Former Carlsbad resident Joanna Sieberg has been our community’s leading expert on the Death March for some time. Bob Stockwell helped create a beautiful exhibit at the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center highlighting the local impact the Death March had on Carlsbad. There’s also an excellent display at our Veterans Park. In 2012, film producer Jan Thompson created a film documentary about the Death March and we had a special screening in Carlsbad. We encourage everyone to take a moment this weekend to honor our community’s Bataan Death March participants over the weekend, and to always make sure that younger generations are aware our strong local ties.
Carlsbad School Superintendent Gerry Washburn reported a significant improvement to the traffic situation on Lea Street. Congratulations to all of the parents who have done a great job adapting over the past few weeks. Washburn also said that 64% percent of the school district’s student body is now back to in person schooling. This percentage is above 80% for kindergarten but below 60% at the high school.
The school district has a lot planned as we finally move past COVID-19, including a shift into more of what’s called an Academy Model. Upcoming plans also include the construction of a performing arts center and returning Riverside into an elementary school. Kindergartens are going to be added to existing elementary schools. Parents have already received notification about changes to how our middle schools are divided.
Cavemen standout Trevor Rogers pitched Saturday afternoon in a game against the Mets. Last August, he pitched four scoreless innings in his Major League Debut against the New York team. We wish Trevor the best this weekend. Finally, we hope to have great news from this weekend as the Carlsbad Cavegirls take on Albuquerque High in the soccer state championship.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway