When General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in March 1942, he promised “I shall return”. It was 69 years ago today that he made good his promise by returning with an invasion force. The landing, which took place at four spots along a 30-km stretch of coastline on Leyte, involved 700 vessels and 174,000 U.S. servicemen. On October 20, 1944, MacArthur landed in Leyte, fulfilling his promise to the Filipino people by wading ashore at Leyte, but the evening before the Leyte landing, MacArthur spoke through a radio transmitter announcing. . .
“People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil… Rally to me! Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead… The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”
Gen. MacArthur, wearing his field marshal’s cap, sunglasses and freshly pressed khakis wanted to land on the beach but ran aground in the shallows while still 100 yards from the beach. The commander of the craft could not bring the landing craft in any closer and so an irritated MacArthur accompanied by President Osmeña and their staffs had to wade ashore. It became one of the most famous images of World War II. Upon seeing the newsreels of his landing, MacArthur was so stirred by the picture that he ordered his staffs to arrange for all subsequent island landings to begin offshore so he could walk through knee-deep water onto the beach.
Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.
All rights reserved. Oct. 20, 1944 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines