long story short, he promised to return. and he did. the rest is history.
i wish i could feign expertise on the war between the americans and the japanese on this side of the philippine soil but the truth is, four years of history lessons became just that — history.
i do remember the famous parting words.
“i shall return,” was it not? although i don’t know if he said it calmly or excitedly so i am kind of torn right now between punctuating the sentence with a period or with an exclamation point. whatever it is, it doesn’t matter anymore because general douglas macarthur, together with his 225,000 boys and 600 ships defeated the japanese imperial army and liberated the philippines in what we may now consider as a very good example of the power of a flash mob. minus the dancing, of course.
i’m trying to make this part of history light because if i won’t, i’ll probably start getting emotional over the fact that my own grandfather suffered under the hands of the japanese sometime within the 3 years of their occupation. they tied his hands behind his back and then hung him backwards for, i don’t know, days? while it didn’t exactly tear off his arms from his shoulders, his lungs and his spirit suffered permanently after that. what made the brutal scenario worse was that it was his fellow filipinos who executed the torture. those who, out of fear or selfish survival, submitted themselves as the enemy’s friends.
wars are senseless things. all these people dying or suffering while those in higher ranks sip their coffee in peace.
so, yeah, true to his word, macarthur did return on october 20, 1944. thus, the leyte landing memorial park, which imelda marcos developed. it was named “imelda park” for a while but they changed the name to what it is now. (personally, i think “macarthur park” sounds more appropriate.)
anyhow, i’m not exactly high on facts right now so if you want to learn more about leyte’s war, this site would be able to help you. i know, because it helped me too.
another thing i also wouldn’t be able to help you with is how a bronze cast of macarthur’s footprints got in there.
although i can tell you right here right now that those statues were larger than life! they were huge! i don’t know if people normally wade through the pool to get to the statues but i’m glad we did because the water was comfortably warm.
just as i’m glad i didn’t slip because the floor was quite mossy and there were quite a lot of visitors on that saturday afternoon to “secretly” make a spectacle of myself.
guess whose dream of seeing the macarthur statue came true on this day? you should’ve seen aj’s face. he looked like he was about to lose his mind with the surreality of standing right there on the very spot whose pictures he only saw in the textbooks. gayle and i couldn’t help but lose ourselves in a giggling fit.
but seriously, j, i know the feeling. that’s what i felt walking along san juanico bridge too. =)