March of Forgiveness
River Kwai, Thailand
October 26, 1976
Dennis "Rolly" Roland and
Stanley Willner traveled back to Thailand in 1976. Their objective was to
join in a private march of forgiveness, initiated by Nagase
As the trip neared, both
men were uneasy. Roland in a letter to Willner, October 2, 1976, wrote:
I don't know really
what to say about the trip and the event except that when I first
heard of it I went for it. A few times I wondered what the hell I'd be
doing out there and finally came to the conclusion that my first
impression is OK with me and so I am expecting to go. . . I agree with you that there will be many who are totally against the affair. . .
While standing in the
Kanchanaburi Cemetery, where many of Death's Railway's dead are
memorialized, Stanley Willner remembered. He refused to
march across the bridge over the River Kwai with his friend Dennis
Roland. He watched from a distance.
In his scrap
book, there is a page that speaks from Death's Railway in 1943 to
this event in 1976:
Due to our grand admiration for the American people, my wish to honor
them was fulfilled on August the fourth 1941 by naming our son after
your great leader Franklin D. R.
E. J. van Kappen
1st Lieut. M. L.
Changi 14th of April 1943