From Stars & Stripes
John E. Love, a Bataan Death March survivor who led a campaign to
change the caption on a historic march photo from The Associated Press,
has died. He was 91.
Love died Monday after a long battle with cancer, said Gerry Lightwine,
pastor at La Vida Llena, an Albuquerque retirement home where Love
As a 19-year-old member of the New Mexico Guard, Love was one of 75,000
Filipino and American soldiers who were taken captive by the Japanese
in World War II when the U.S. forces surrendered in the province of
Bataan and Corregidor Island in April 1942.
In all, tens of thousands of troops were forced to march to Japanese
prison camps in what became known as the Bataan Death March. Many were
denied food, water and medical care, and those who collapsed during the
scorching journey through Philippine jungles were shot or bayoneted.
"I was one of the first 300 or 400 off the march to enter Camp
O'Donnell, and they (prisoners) began dying that same day," Love told
the Albuquerque Journal in a 2009 interview. He estimated he carried
more than 1,000 bodies to the graveyard.
For the remainder of the war, Love was forced to work in a Japanese copper mine until being liberated in 1945.
After the war, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico and
graduated in 1950. He worked at Conoco Inc., for 35 years and lived in
El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and Arlington, Texas, with his wife, Laura
Bernice Ellis, who died in 2000.
In 2009, Love joined a campaign with other Bataan Death March survivors
to change the caption on one of the most famous photos in AP's library
about the march. The photo, thought to be of the Bataan Death March,
actually was an Allied POW burial detail.
Following a six-month investigation, The AP corrected the caption in
2010, 65 years after the image was first published. AP archivists
confirmed Love's account of the burial detail at a prisoner-of-war camp
in the weeks that followed the Death March.
When Love learned of the caption revision in March 2010, he became emotional with a reporter.
"Son of a gun. Isn't that great?" Love said. "It brings tears to my eyes. It really does."