|MacArthur Landing Site|
| On 20 October, 1944, thousands of American troops landed near
Palo, Leyte, as the first step in taking the Philippines back from the Japanese. The site is
now a national memorial with this sculpture inspired by the famous photo of MacArthur wading
ashore here accompanied by US and Philippine officials, including President Osmeña. The initial
landing met little resistance and both the US forces and the returning Philippine government
quickly set up temporary headquarters in nearby Tacloban, capital of the province. MacArthur chose
Leyte to begin the liberation of the country because the guerrillas there were especially
active and effective in offering intelligence and backup for the landing forces. The Japanese
soon organized resistance, however, and fierce battles occurred in other parts of the island,
especially near Ormoc, on the western side of Leyte. Little by little, island by island, the
Japanese were forced to retreat, and by March of 1945, after the Battle of Manila, the country
was finally free of the invader.
The US maintained both an army and navy base at Tacloban until 1947 and the older Leyteños fondly remember those days. Even after all these years, they will recall the names of soldiers and sailors who offered them and their schoolmates chocolates and smiles. Although all Filipinos make Americans feel welcome in their country, the people of Leyte seem to feel a special fondness for us and our shared history. And they adore Douglas MacArthur who, in the days of open racism in the US, treated Filipinos as his equals.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
I have returned. By the grace of the Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil - soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.
At my side is your President, Sergio Osmeña, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet. The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re-established on Philippine soil.
The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.
Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! strike! for future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His Name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!