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"My grandfather Valente S. Tolero was a Corporal in the Army during World War II. He was captured by Imperial Japan in what was known as The Bataan Death March, while serving in the Philippine Islands, He was sent to an unstated camp where 9,012 other American POWs were held. Only 5,930 prisoners were liberated. Compared to Imperial Japan’s other camps with at least 10 prisoners, his camp had the highest number of prisoners. For context, German camps held a maximum of 8,412 prisoners, and an average of 86 prisoners. My grandfather’s capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on May 7, 1942, and the last report was made on February 21, 1945, coincidentally just after “The Great Raid”. Based on his records, he was a prisoner of war for at least 1,021 days (2 years and ~11 months), which was one of the longest durations of captivity recorded.
Growing up, I always knew that he had served in the Army, but he would only tell me that his job was to repair typewriters, which I came to learn later, was just one of his skills. As a child, I did not know what my grandma truly meant when she said she waited many sad days for him. In spite of, or perhaps because of his ordeal, my grandfather was a kind, patient, yet stern man, who loved his wife and family. He once told me that knowing my grandmother was waiting for him to come home, kept him going throughout the war. His legacy is in his descendants. One of his sons followed in his footsteps and became a Green Beret, and another son became a Deputy Sheriff. Four of us grandchildren joined various police departments. (My cousins joined the military prior to becoming police officers.)
I thank all of the men and women who have served, are serving, and will serve. For all of those who never saw liberation, and for those of whom are still missing in action, we honor you and will never forget you and we will never give up hope of bringing you home. "
-Renee, a ZOX family member
Every wristband made is a limited edition work of art for your wrists. ZOX are reversible with a design on one side and a positive message on the inside. Every ZOX is individually laser cut with a serial number to ensure authenticity.