Few people streaming across the State Street bridge downtown even notice the old plaque on the bridgehouse near Wacker Drive.“May the courage and fortitude displayed by this group in the face of adversity be a constant inspiration to our citizens,” it reads, explaining the bridge, dedicated in 1949, is officially named the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge.
It honors Chicago natives who died in a months-long World War II battle against Japanese forces for control of the Philippines on the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, a battle that culminated with the Americans’ surrender in 1942.
Nearly 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers were taken prisoner-of-war. In the forced 65-mile march to the camp where they were to be held, about 600 Americans and somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 Filipinos from Bataan died as a result of starvation, illness or worse.
The bridge is one of dozens of memorials across the city of Chicago erected in honor of those who fought and died in battle.
They include prominent memorials — like the Spirit of the American Doughboy sculpture outside Soldier Field.
Others are more obscure — like the rifle and pair of combat boots, cast in bronze, planted in Beverly Park in honor of Marine Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, who died in Afghanistan in 2012.
With Memorial Day on Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times gathered information from sources including historians, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Transportation to put together this map of many of the city’s statues, memorials, parks and other monuments that honor those who died while serving with the U.S. armed forces.