DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - World War II veteran and former prisoner of war, Glenn Frazier, died Saturday, September 15, 2018, at the age of 94.
Frazier was taken captive in the Philippines in April 1942. He was among approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops forced to take the Bataan Death March. Thousands would not survive the journey as they were forced to walk to prison camps 65-miles away without food or water.
Frazier survived the march and would spend the next three and half years as a prisoner of war living in slave labor camps.
Speaking with FOX10 News in 2016, Frazier recalled how he was nearly executed.
"The major came out there stuck that saber right up to my neck... It nipped my neck and I felt a little blood go down. I had seen them execute several people... so I knew how it was going to happen," Frazier said. "The interpreter said do you have a last word.. Here's the way I said it... I said yes I do! He said well say it... Hateful like. I said he can kill me, but he cannot kill my spirit."
He escaped death that day, only to be put in an isolation box where he survived on a small bowl of rice and water.
After the war ended, Frazier returned home in 1945. However, his captors weren't far from his thoughts.
"I hated them with all the strength I had in my body," said Frazier.
He later wrote a book, "Hell's Guest," detailing his experience and his journey to overcome the hatred.
"I think the word forgiveness is unbelievable ... A lot of people go through life and say they forgive this and that.. But it's real hard to do," explained Frazier.
Frazier was also featured in Ken Burns series “The War,” which documented World War II through the perspective of four American cities, including Mobile.
Frazier's wife Elizabeth said goodbye to her husband Saturday,"Right before he took his last breath he squeezed my hand and I told him I’m going to be okay."
David Malaney knew Frazier for 11 years. He says he was a mentor and friend, "We met once a week and he would talk with me about Iraq, what we did over there and how I felt about it and I think he really helped me, I really think I helped him as much as he helped me, I’d like to think so anyway."
Malaney and Frazier's family say they'll continue to share his legacy so the nation remembers this American hero.
"He meant more to me than anything and I will fight for his legacy until my last breath," Frazier's daughter Lauren Waldrop said.