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Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Sen. Ted Cruz apologized to Filipino veterans for referencing the Bataan Death March during his marathon protest last week of President Obama's health care law.

"I apologize for causing offense. I should not have said what I did," the Texas Republican said during a meeting with Filipino veterans of World War II.

Cruz mentioned the Bataan Death March near the end of his 21-hour, filibuster-style protest last week as he thanked Senate aides, Capitol police officers and other staff who were at work as he controlled the Senate floor from Sept. 24 into Sept. 25.

Specifically, Cruz said that he wanted "to thank the men and men who have endured this, this Bataan Death March."

After the Battle of Bataan in World War II, Japanese forces killed more than 10,000 Filipino and American soldiers during the forced 65-mile march to a prison camp. Tens of thousands of other Filipino and American soldiers who survived the march were held as POWs, and many died because of lack of food, poor conditions and abuse by their captors.

Cruz met with Celestino Almeda and Jesse Baltazar, both in their 90s, and other representatives of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, which had asked for a public apology. Video of the meeting was posted Tuesday on YouTube.

"I was trying to say they (staff) endured a long period of suffering not of their choosing, but I understand that that comment caused offense and I apologize. That was not my intention to do so," Cruz said after explaining the context of his remarks.

Follow @ccamia on Twitter.

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