Monday, March 2, 2015

70th Anniversary of Mac's return

Today, March 2, 2015, a large group gathered for a ceremony and a flag-raising reenactment to commemorate and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur's promised return to Corregidor.  Once again we will try to tell the story mostly with pictures.
Photos by Gilbert Secosana except where noted.

Sign to welcome visitors as they arrive via the Sun Cruises ferry on the North Dock

Maj. General Jose Magno leads the way to the tranvias

One of the tranvias taking special guests to the ceremony.  Steve was not a guide today, he was busy practicing to be the emcee.

Cadets from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP, located on Bataan directly across from Corregidor) preparing for the ceremony

Ms. Maricor Akol, emissary of Atty. Rafael Evangelista, National Commander of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (DBC) and the Honorable Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Dept. of National Defense, talking with Marcia.  Maricor's sister is a pediatrician in Duluth, Minnesota - not far from our soon-to-be-home.

Maj. Gen'l James Pasquarette, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), Leslie Ann Murray, First Vice President, Filipino-American Memorial Endowment, Inc. (FAME), and American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AMCHAM), Ebb Hinchcliffe, Executive Director, AMCHAM, Ms. Tina Malone, Public Affairs Section, Dept. of State, U.S. Embassy, and Major Gen'l (Phil-ret) Jose Magno

Maritime Academy cadets prepared to accompany ceremonial wreathes

Lt. Col Artemio G. Matibag, Executive Director, Corregidor Foundation, Inc. (CFI) and President of FAME speaking with Steve prior to the ceremony

Philippine Navy Band in their dress whites stand in the shadow of a former married-officer-housing duplex

Entry of Colors

Colors displayed during the playing of National Anthems

Lt. Col. Matibag, CFI, with Ms. Rebecca Villanueva-Labit, Director, Region IV-A, Calabarzon, Dept. of Tourism, present the first of five commemorative wreaths

Ebb Hinchcliffe and Leslie Ann Murray of AMCHAM and FAME present the second wreath

 Lt. Gen'l Hernando Iriberri, Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, and Major Gen'l Pasquerette, USARPAC, present the third wreath

Generals Iriberri and Pasquarette salute during the playing of Taps (which was played by the Philippine Navy Band after each wreath was presented)

Adm'l Eduardo Maria R. Santos, AFP, President of MAAP, Ms. Akol, DBC, and Hon. Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Dept. of National Defense (DND), present the fourth wreath

 Adm'l Santos, Ms. Akol, and Hon. Mr. Carolina, during the playing of Taps

 Ms. Malone of the U.S. Embassy presenting the fifth wreath on behalf of Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg

 Ms. Malone stands before the five wreaths during the final playing of Taps.  If you've gotten the impression that the presentation of wreaths and the playing of Taps was a major part of the 70th Anniversary Commemoration, you are correct!

Marcia gives the invocation

Distance shot showing a part of the large gathering of guests

AMCHAM's Ebb Hinchcliff
photo by Beth

Following Lt. Col. Matibag, Ms. Murray, Maj. Gen'l Pasquarette, and Hon. Mr. Carolina, Ms. Tina Malone of the U.S. Embassy gave the Guest of Honor message

 Steve speaks about Gen'l MacArthur's determination to return to liberate all of the Philippines (as opposed to bypassing Luzon and going straight to Formosa as proposed by others on the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and how that decision saved countless lives in the Philippines.

The historic Spanish Flagpole, scene of the 70th Anniversary flag-raising reenactment.  Assisting are Gen'l Pasquarette, Gen'l Magno, and Jesse Gabisay, island security.  You can also see island manager Ronilo Benadero on the right.

Forty-eight stars once again fly over Corregidor!  This flag was a gift to Corregidor from James Zobel, Curator of the MacArthur Memorial and Archives in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
photo by Beth

Marcia and Steve flank Lt. Adam Obregon, who serves in Italy as a member of the same unit his grandfather belonged to when he jumped onto Corregidor on Feb. 16, 1945 (503rd PRCT)This was Adam's first visit to the Rock; we hope it's not his last!

 Lt. Col. Matibag and Ms. Malone walking to lunch after the ceremony

Ms. Murray watches as Gen'l Iriberri's helicopter departs Corregidor's Topside Parade Grounds

In our "follow-up segment:"
As a response to our previous post, in which we lamented the condition and near invisibility of the city of Lamao's monument marking the site of General King's Surrender on Bataan, our friend Bob Hudson, whose father was a Death March survivor, went to Lamao with a handful of black permanent markers and patiently re-colored the lettering on the marker.  Notice especially the Battlin Bastards of Bataan dedication at the base as you compare the before and after photos.


and after!

Many sincere thanks, Bob, from all of us who care!  Now we'll hope the encompassing market is truly temporary, so that this monument soon stands visible and proud, in honor of King and his men.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock

P.S.  Happy 79th Birthday, Peter Parsons.  One year and one day ago you made the big swim almost all the way around Corregidor!

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