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Bataan Death March survivor to be laid to rest

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West Point's Ted Aikin spent 26 years in Army, became small business owner

By Jeff D'Alessio

Jacky Aikin said the outpouring of condolences in the death of his father has been “remarkable.’’

“With all the calls asking what people can do and the flags up at half mast and posts on the Internet, it has been remarkable,’’ he said.

Ted Aikin, 87, a survivor of the Bataan Death March of 1942, a forced march across the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines where thousands perished, died Aug. 30 at North Hardin Health and Rehabilitation Center in Radcliff.

His funeral is Saturday, his 67th wedding anniversary.

Aikin suffered a stroke in April and never recovered, Jacky said. Both his father and mother, Jackie Ruth, were hospitalized the same day in April. His mother suffered a bad fall.

In 2009, Ted was recognized by Hardin County Fiscal Court with Ted Aikin Day.

His son said that was a day that left a mark on his father.

“It really pleased him,’’ Jacky said. “It tickled him beyond belief.’’

Ted spent 26 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a master sergeant. After he left the Army, he opened a gas station in West Point and operated it for about 25 years. Ted, who also was elected to West Point City Council, later opened a game room.

“I think he did that just so kids would have something to do,’’ Jacky said.

Jacky said one of the biggest lessons he learned from his father came from the march. When his father could have held a grudge for what happened to him and thousands of others, he didn’t.

“To be a prisoner of war and to be beaten like he was, he held no ill will,’’ Jacky said. “He always said the GIs were following orders just like orders he was given and followed. He didn’t blame them.’’

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.