March 2nd marked the 68th anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Rock, which occurred after two weeks of ferocious fighting between the occupying Japanese and the American assault forces. We present a picture of the 48-star flag, a gift to Corregidor from the MacArthur Memorial and Archives, which has flown atop the Spanish Flagpole for the past two weeks in commemoration of that successful conquest.
On Sunday Marcia became a godmother to Khate Nicole, the firstborn of our friends George and Marlene who live on the island. We took an early-morning banca to Cabcaben, with the baptism taking place at St. Joseph the Worker Church following instructions to the parents and godparents of the five to be christened. A nice party was held after our return to the Rock.
Sadly, we received the following email a few days ago:
With joy we know that Frank is with God, family and friends who have gone before us. At age 99 Frank and I were still dancing. He sang our traditional duets in German"Ihr Kinderlein, Kommet" and "Stille Nacht" before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.Two days later I took him to our Military hospital. Family was with him day and night,and we ALL gathered to sing him Happy Birthday, complete with balloons and cake.Frank died in my arms the morning of January 8th. Judy
We met Frank only twice, once in the late 1970’s, when we visited him at his home in San Antonio, Texas, and the other at an American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor convention in Phoenix in 2006. Frank had been captured on Corregidor, was in many of the same POW camps as Steve’s father Walter, and also was on the same 62-day Hellship ride from Manila to Japan in mid-1944. Frank and Walter kept in touch until Walter’s death in 1988, and Frank continued to occasionally correspond with Steve and his mother. The two men were also close in age. We will miss Frank.
Recently we were asked to host a Japanese couple for a day on Corregidor. Maybe it goes without saying, but we are always a little apprehensive when we talk with Japanese for the first time about what happened here in the Philippines in World War II. We knew ahead of time that Mariko is a new member of Bridge for Peace, which meant that she and her husband Tetsu should not be too shocked by what they heard. Our approach is to be tactful but also truthful and hope for an understanding. Following is Mariko’s email. Note that her English is quite good. We present it unedited. Read “tombs” where she used the word “thumbs.”
Thank you for yesterday. Tetsu and I really had a fulfilling time there thanks to both of you.
It is still hard for me to imagine there were such furious battles happened in the beautiful island like Corregidor where is surrounded by greenery and where the songs of birds heard everywhere.
Until we visited our last destination, Japanese soldier's thumbs, I could hardly fill the gap between the past time and the present time where we are - peaceful atmosphere with lots of tourist walking around smiling. However, at the thumbs, I realized that all the battles were actual events by reading the name, birthplace, age and so on of the dead soldiers. They are so real.
Aside from the meaning or judgment of the World War II, these soldiers fought for protecting their family and friends. But in Japan, most of the people do not know what happened in Corregidor. I, myself, did not even know the name of Corregidor until I came to the Philippines.
When I prayed for their souls, I felt guilty for not knowing about them until then.
This time we did not have enough time, but I will visit the American and Philippine soldier’s thumbs next time.
I’m looking forward to reading Steve’s book.
Attached, please find a picture of "hero of the rock" ;-)
Thank you again and regards,
It was clearly our pleasure to spend the day with Mariko and Tetsu, and we were surprised to find that Tetsu is employed by Accenture, a company with ties to several of our family members. While we were in the museum with them, we met a couple of ladies from Ohio who overheard Steve and briefly joined our discussion. Later they each bought a copy of Steve’s book, and Mariko sent us the photo that she mentions, taken on the dock before ferry departure.
And this from Patty in Minnesota, who has been on two of our tours:
First of all-let's just move on from the fact that I watch Survivor. It is being filmed in the Philippines on the Caramoan Islands. The winners of a challenge last night received a visit from a local native who would teach them some useful survival tricks. As the camera focuses in on a man paddling a canoe, I realize it is the older gentleman from our "Jungle Survival" trip in Subic Bay! Would one say it is a small world or would we all like to debate the reality of reality T.V.? I sure hope spring is just around the corner! I have had enough for this year and wouldn't mind sipping a G & T some place warm!
Cool! We’re sure others will recognize this guy from the Jungle Environment Survival Training School (JEST) in Subic. Patty is a niece of Hortense McKay, one of the “Angels of Bataan and Corregidor.” Our friend Mark Hall sent a text message saying that Mildred Dalton Manning, the last living of the Angels, recently passed away at the age of 98. How sad to think that they are all gone. We include a photo of the lower section of the nurses’ memorial marker here on Corregidor, on which you can find both names.
You may recall that a couple of weekends ago we hosted a United States congressional delegation. Here is a personal email from the Minnesota 1st district representative.
I wanted to thank you and Marcia for the time you spent with us on Corregidor. It was an honor to hear your father's story. I have finished the book and appreciate the passion you obviously have to tell this important story. I have yet to get back to Minnesota, but will visit your father's grave to pay respects on behalf of all southern Minnesotans. I will reserve time on the house floor on or near May 8th to honor your father on the 25th anniversary of his passing. Let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family.
Member of Congress
Minnesota's First Congressional District
We’re very touched by his kindness, and look forward to receiving a photo of Congressman Walz standing by Walter’s grave at Fort Snelling Cemetery in suburban Minneapolis.
Steve and Marcia on the Rock