75th year of liberation marked with rites at American Cemetery
A US Marine looks at mosaic maps depicting key events and battles in the Pacific during World War II, as he visits a memorial at the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City yesterday. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Leyte Gulf landing which saw Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilling his promise to return and liberate the Philippines from the Japanese.
Krizjohn Rosales
75th year of liberation marked with rites at American Cemetery
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As Filipinos and Americans commemorate today the 75th anniversary of the start of the campaign to drive the Japanese occupation forces from the Philippines, a new interpretative visitor center has been unveiled at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City to serve as another reminder of the sacrifices of thousands who fought to defend freedom.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) led yesterday’s dedication ceremonies for the opening of the new interpretative visitor center at the Manila American Cemetery, a sprawling resting place in Taguig City for 17,206 US soldiers, as well as Filipinos and service members from allied states, killed during World War 11.

The facilities, which include exhibits and multi-media programs, are designed to enhance understanding of the events that led to World War II – particularly the Pacific War – as well as of the selflessness of men and women who responded to the call of duty.

US Ambassador Sung Kim and ABMC commissioner Robert Wefald led the solemn ceremony. Some surviving American and Filipino veterans attended the event.

Of the 17,206 soldiers buried at the Manila American Cemetery, more than 3,000 were classified as unknown soldiers. The Manila American Cemetery is the biggest American cemetery for World War II veterans outside the US.

Exactly 75 years ago today, a huge US armada led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed in Leyte in fulfillment of his “I shall return” promise after leaving the doomed island fortress of Corregidor for Australia in March 1942.

It was US President Franklin Roosevelt who ordered him to leave the Philippines so he could assemble and lead a campaign to defeat the Japanese. A month later – on April 9, 1942 – Bataan fell. Corregidor followed on May 6.

The liberation of Luzon began on Jan. 9, 1945 with an amphibious landing in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Visiting US Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl Schultz will join a US delegation attending today’s commemoration of the Leyte Landing. National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. presides over the event.

Schultz will also meet with senior officials from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), including PCG commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino and Vice Admiral Joel Garcia, deputy commandant for administration and the director of National Coast Watch System.

“My goal for the US Coast Guard is to be the partner of choice in the region. Our specialized capabilities and expansive international relationships enable us to build partner-nation capacity and model rules-based values. We are proud to be operating with our Philippine partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Schultz said. 




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