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March of Forgiveness


Dennis Roland


Nagase Takashi

Whitre Sheets Video

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 Takashi. 

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:

Stanley Willner,

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 (Dead), 1st Lieut. M. L.
Java, Changi 14th of April 1943