World War 2 Veteran speaks in Marshfield - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

World War 2 Veteran speaks in Marshfield

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -

Ex-soldier Lester Tenney continues to recount his war years, but for good reason.

"I don't want to stop, if you stop your dead," said Lester Tenney, Veteran.

Tenney survived what is known as "The Bataan Death March" in Southeast Asia.

Captured soldiers were forced to walk 80 miles in 100 degree temperatures.

If they stopped for any reason, they were killed.

"Most people have no idea that when we were captured and made a POW, we were then forced to do hard labor in Japan," added Tenney.

Around 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers were forced to surrender to the Japanese.

Tenney was one of the 1700 soldiers who survived to tell the tale.

"We were a slave for 3 years working in coal mines and on docks and in factories," said Tenney.

Today Tenny is one one of about 20 survivors left.

He says his motivation to make it home again was simple.

"All during this time in prison camp, my whole thought was coming home to my wife, and having a family, and starting life over again," added Tenney.

When he got home Tenney discovered his wife believed he was killed, and the unthinkable had happened, she remarried.

"It was a traumatic experience," said Tenney.

Tenney still travels as often as possible, telling his tale and hoping to inspire anyone who will listen.

He's also authored a book, "My Hitch in Hell."

"I had no idea it was going to be a book, I wrote it strictly as a manuscript for my family," added Tenney.

Tenney has since forgiven the Japanese for their cruel acts.

But he says he will never forget those haunting years.

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