It was a long, hard time after the fall of Bataan before liberation forces were able to return to the islands, fulfilling MacArthur’s promise to return.
But today is the 70th anniversary of that return, on the beaches of Leyte Island, which began the second Philippines Campaign of World War II. We salute the brave men and women who made the return possible and made it happen; those in the Philippines who prepared the way, who carried on the fight for freedom under Imperial Japan’s occupation; those in America, who forged the weapons and tools needed in the Arsenal of Democracy to make the return of air, naval and land forces possible. The work of the Fil-Am forces enabled the successful landings at Leyte that began the liberation campaign, though many months of bitter fighting were ahead before Nippon’s invaders were defeated.
And we salute the Fil-Am defenders of Bataan, and those at Corregidor too, who held out as long as they could against heavy odds, extracting a stiff price from the enemy for his bloody conquest, and buying precious time to avert complete defeat in the Pacific while Allied forces rallied to stem the imperial tide at places like Australia, New Guinea, the Coral Sea, Midway Island and Guadalcanal.
Let us all remember the lessons of preparedness from this time, or the bitter result from a lack of it, as we look at a chaotic world today.
For some great information and graphics commemorating the Leyte landings, which also set the stage for the largest naval battle in world War II (and possible the largest naval battle in all history), the Battle of Leyte Gulf, please see:
Bataan painting, at: http://pinoyhistory.proboards.com/thread/1410