Nothing beats seeing and touching something with your own eyes and hands to make it more real. So, even if reading can take you places and fire up your imagination, being in a place gives you an emotional connection, making something you have read about more concrete.
In the first part of this series, I talked about why and how to introduce World War II to young children. The second part listed war-related children’s books. The third part of our World War II adventure, which I am sharing here today, was going to the different war memorials near us. I am including two places that we did not get to visit but will definitely go to in the future.
Quezon Memorial House
Manuel L. Quezon was the president of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944, a period that included the war years. He is also noted for opening the doors of the country to Jewish refugees.
President Quezon’s house in San Juan was restored and relocated to the Quezon Memorial Circle. Though small, there’s still an official tour of the house by a nice lady working for the city government. We were only able to tour the ground floor of the house, though, as the Vice Mayor was being interviewed for a TV show on the second floor at that time. So, every time we pass by the Q.C. circle, Little T reminds me that we should go back to the house to check out the second floor. We really should!
Libingan ng Mga Bayani
Located in Taguig, Libingan ng Mga Bayani is the final resting place of the Filipino soldiers who died during World War II. National artists and statesmen are also buried there.
We tried to look for the grave of my father-in-law’s uncle who died during the Death March, but the crosses do not bear the names of the dead. The names can be looked up in the office’s computer, but as it was a Sunday when we went, the office was closed.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
I did not know about this cemetery until I asked my husband for ideas for war-related places to visit. Also located in Taguig, the sprawling property contains the graves of American soldiers who died in World War II. The memorial hall lists the names of the missing soldiers, etched in limestone.
Bataan Memorial Markers
Dozens of markers or memorials dot the route that the soldiers traversed during the Bataan Death March. When we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan for a family trip, we made sure to stop by one such marker. It turned out that it was one of two Kilometer Zeros in Bataan, or one of the starting points of the Death March.
Japan Friendship Tower
Just a few meters from the gate of Las Casas Filipinas, we saw the Japan Friendship Tower. It was built by a Japanese Buddhist organization in 1975 to symbolize the friendship of Japan and the Philippines after World War II.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a beautiful heritage park located in Bagac, Bataan. Though the resort features Spanish colonial homes, and is therefore not a WWII destination, we learned from the tour that some of the houses there were used as headquarters by American and Filipino soldiers during World War II. It was such a nice surprise to have a tie-in with what we were learning about. It helps, too, that it’s right where all the war memorials are!
I love, love, love Corregidor. I first went there when I was in high school and went back two more times. I initially planned to bring Little T there as our final activity about World War II, as I felt the mortars and bombed buildings would really make history real for her. But I was put off by the cost of Sun Cruises’ tours especially considering that Little Sir is just three years old. We’ll wait a year or two before bringing the kids there. At least, we’ll have something new to go to when we study about World War II again!
Dambana ng Kagitingan
Situated on top of Mount Samat, Dambana ng Kagitingan commemorates the Death March and the war. The shrine has a museum and a memorial cross that is 302 feet high. Though I’ve been there more than ten years ago, its significance did not really sink in to me then. We were unable to visit it too when we went to Las Casas because it was so hot and everybody just wanted to get to the resort already. So, that makes two more places to visit next time!
And this concludes my series on How to Introduce World War II to Children. I hope that it will serve you well when you’re planning your own learning experience. I’ll sure refer to this series when it’s time to revisit the war. What else should be on this list?