Legionnaires of Allen “Pop” Reeves American Legion Post 123, Philippines, attended the 79th anniversary of the landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's forces' landing in Leyte, Philippines, in 1944. Representing Post 123 on Oct. 20, 2023, were Finance Officer/Canteen Manager James Brown, Mike George, Vietnam vet, Force Recon (USMC/Ret), member Mark Madach (USMC/Ret), Sgt-at-Arms/Historian Larry Miller (Army Vet.) and 1VC David Shelton (USN/Ret-HM 8404).
Philippines’ government officials marked the gallantry of the heroes of World War II, which led to the liberation of the Philippines from three years of Japanese occupation in 1944, at the 79th Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration.
Officials for the United States, Australia and Japan joining the Philippine government held a low-key celebration at MacArthur Landing Memorial Park honoring the bravery of Filipino guerrilla fighters and Allied forces.
Commander Bien Decena, U.S. Embassy maritime adviser, thanked the over 15,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
“This anniversary highlights the enduring partnership between the two countries. Some 79 years ago, we stood shoulder to shoulder to liberate this country. This is a reminder to honor our fallen heroes. Let us not forget their sacrifices,” Decena said.
Hae Kyung Yu, the Australian ambassador to the Philippines, thanked them for acknowledging Australia’s role in the liberation of Leyte with the participation of 4,000 Australian armed forces.
“The landing here of Australian Navy troops in 1944 along with the Allies to start the liberation in the Philippines is a special moment to us. Leyte has a special place in our hearts,” Yu added.
The minister and consul general of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines, Hanada Takahiro, sympathized with family members whose forefathers perished during the war.
“We feel deep remorse for the Japanese occupation here. We continue to cherish the peace that we enjoy today. My country has been dedicated to promoting peace and prosperity in Asia. Japan is determined to continue to make greater contributions to that end,” Takahiro said.