FRAMINGHAM -Senate President Karen Spilka pinned a Medal of Liberty on to former long-time Town of Framingham employee Maryellen Rupp today at the City of Framingham’s Veterans Day ceremony. The Medal was awarded to Sergeant William Dennis, a World War II Veteran, who was in the Battle of Bataan.
The Massachusetts Medal of Liberty is awarded to Massachusetts service men and women who have been killed in action or who died as a result of wounds received in action. The award is bequeathed on behalf of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth.
The award presentation was part of the City of Framingham’s Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m.
Sgt. Dennis was attached to the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment, US Army, was stationed on the Philippine Island on December 8th, 1941, when the island was invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces.
On December 24, MacArthur invoked the prewar plan, War Plan Orange 3, which called for the use of delaying positions in central Luzon while forces withdrew into Bataan. The withdrawal would last until January 7, 1942, keeping the Battle of Bataan ensuing for the next four months. The final surrendering was on April 9, 1942.
Those survivors of the battle would then become Prisoners of War and were subjected to a long march – 85 miles in 6 days – to POW Camps. This march became known as the Bataan Death March.
Sgt. Dennis survived the Death March but succumbed to disease in a Japanese POW Camp.
The telegram the family received from the War Office reads in part: “Your brother Sergeant William Dennis who was previously reported as Missing in Action died in a Japanese prison camp, May 3rd, 1942”.
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