Filipino veterans of the Second World War were honored on Thursday, October 20, during the 78th anniversary of the return of the Americans to the Philippines at the tailend of the war.
“They who have fought and died in and for this land will have their names forever etched in the pages of history,” said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the ceremonies in the province of Leyte.
“We express our most profound gratitude for the sacrifices that they had made in reclaiming our freedom and for ushering in a new age of peace for our people and for the world,” said the president at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Palo.
Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla of Leyte said the stories of the war veterans should be incorporated into school curricula.
“We want them to tell their stories if they can because I think the most important thing in the commemoration is for them to be remembered,” said the governor.
He said Filipinos should focus not only on the commemoration, “but more important is making it part of our history.”
In her message during the occasion, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson noted the “shared sacrifices” between the United States and the Philippines “to preserve our cherished democratic values.”
On October 23 to 26, 1944, the Battle of Leyte, known as the largest naval battle in history, became “a watershed moment in the Pacific war theatre” that led to the decisive victory of the Allied campaign against the Japanese Imperial Forces who occupied the Philippines for almost three years.
The US suffered heavy casualties of 16,043 soldiers and 7,270 sailors during the campaign.
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