McArthur Park Leyte Landing
October 20, 1944: After weeks of heavy bombardment executed by American fighter planes and battle ships on the Leyte beach shores against the defending Japanese forces, the Sixth Army regiment of the combined USAFFE forces arrived at Red Beach in Palo, Leyte. By 1 PM, the combined Allied forces have established enough foothold around the beach area as well as the outskirts and terrains of Palo and Tacloban against the Japanese resistance. With a secured beachhead, the coast was cleared for the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur as he fulfilled his promise to liberate the Filipino people – in his own words, “I Shall Return”.
The personalities that accompanied General MacArthur on his dramatic return on the Leyte shore were President Sergio Osmeña, General Carlos P. Romulo, Major General Basilio J. Valdes, and other key officers of USAFFE and the combined Allied liberating forces. After they arrived at around 1:30 PM, MacArthur addressed the following statement and was broadcasted nationwide via radio – “People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”
The return of General MacArthur in Leyte was a turning point of the Philippine liberation campaign during the Second World War primarily because it marked the first decisive win of the combined Allied forces against their Japanese counterparts, and secondly, it gave hope to the millions of Filipino people and the thousands of POWs as they await their freedom in the hands of the Imperial Army of Japan.
The Leyte Landing Memorial Park, formerly known as the MacArthur Park, in Red Beach Palo, Leyte was built to memorialize the “Leyte Landing” event which is celebrated annually in the Philippines on October 20.