BETHANY, Oklahoma - A Bethany man has posthumously been given the Congressional Gold Medal.

Byron Gordon was one of few to survive the Bataan Death March during World War II on this month in 1942.

When the Japanese took control of the Philippines during the war, they forced tens of thousands of Filipinos and American P.O.W.s to march some 65 miles without food or water.

Gordon died in July of last year at the age of 97. His service in Bethany featured documents about his service in World War II.

His grandson, Chad Higbee had been fighting for Gordon to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. The prestigious award takes an act of Congress to given out.

Last month, while traveling from his home in Dallas to New Mexico for a marathon that honors Bataan death march veterans, Higbee learned that Gordon was eligible for the award.

“It was a huge relief,” said Higbee.

“It’s actually the largest surrender in US military history,” he added.

Higbee said that’s more reason to remember the thousands who died and the small number of survivors like his grandfather.

“We don’t want people who fought in this particular campaign to be forgotten,” added Higbee, who said groups are not working to get word out that those who served in the Philippines are eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal.