Author Rick Peterson
The Road to Bataan
The Bataan Death March
The San Fernando Train Ride
Clark Field Concentration Camp
The Hell Ships
The Nomachi Express
Surrender, Liberation, and Repatriation
University of Minnesota
Alf R. Larson
Recorded Oral History
State of the State Address Tribute
KSTP TV Newscasts
Duluth TV Newscasts
KTIS Radio Interview
Rick P./Paulette K.
Alf's Christian Faith
Alf's Letter to God
Alf R. Larson
Alf R. Larson
Erik Paulsen's Tribute
Alf Larson Day -
City of Crystal
Bataan Death March Route Map
Philippine Department of Tourism
March of Time
("Article of Interest" for 4-6 Grade Basic Skills Reading Test Prep)
March Of Time
Writer’s Note: This article was modified for educational purposes from an article originally written by Peg Meier, Star Tribune staff writer.
Publication Date: May 28, 2000.
Published In: Page E1 – Star Tribune.
Readability Level: 55
Reprinted here by permission from the Star Tribune.
Copyright 1999 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
This article may be used as an “Article of Interest” for students in grades 4-6 in preparation for the Basic Skills Reading Test. Test questions, pre-reading questions and activities and after-reading questions and activities follow the article.
Patience, patience, Rick Peterson kept telling himself. Don't ask too many questions. Don't make him mad.
It took years. But eventually, Peterson coaxed his friend, Alf R. Larson, to spill his World War II story. Larson survived the Bataan Death March and 41 months as a prisoner of war. It's a powerful story and horrific. So much so that Larson, now 81, had pushed it aside in his brain for 55 years.
Even his wife and children didn't know much of it. "That's why he married me. I didn't ask a bunch of questions," said his wife, Jane. She said that only half joking.
But Peterson was busting to know Larson's story. Somehow, he decided it was his mission to get his friend's war experiences on paper. "We need to remember the sacrifices these people made for us and for our freedom," Peterson said. "Freedom is not free."
"He just kept wearing me down," Larson said. First, he let Peterson take notes. Then, he used a tape recorder. At first, the 54-page story was for the Larson family. Now revised and expanded to 77 pages, it's posted on the internet. "Back To Bataan: A Survivor's Story" is the title.
Larson was born in Sweden. He grew up in Duluth and now lives in Crystal. He and Peterson met at the Minnesota Zoo. That's where Larson was a longtime volunteer and Peterson worked in sales.
Peterson has been fascinated with World War II since he was 4 or 5. He remembers touching his father's olive drab uniform with all the ribbons on it. His dad was a combat pilot in the Army Air Corps. He won the Air Medal for flying 35 missions over Germany. "But he didn't talk about it either," Peterson said of his father.