by Richard Ford
The Visayan Association of Australia (VAA Inc.) celebrated the 69th Leyte Landing of General Douglas MacArthur on 20th October 1944 at Chipping Norton Lakes on the 20th October 2013.
The Provincial Government of Leyte through Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla also spearheaded the 69th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary Celebration held at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park Candahug Palo Leyte, the place where General Douglas MacArthur and his troops landed that paved the way for the liberation of the Filipino people from the Japanese Army.
That historic moment has been captured in the iconic photograph of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the Allied Forces wading ashore (above) as he fulfilled his “I Shall Return” promise. That promise was to liberate the country from Japanese invasion during World War II. “People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.” The Philippines endured nearly four years of brutal occupation, but was credited with stalling the advance of the Japanese army on other US-held territories, as Filipino resistance forces bravely fought them.
The Visayan Association an affiliate of APCO Inc, celebrated the occasion with some 50-odd people in attendance, with children and grandchildren also in attendance. The ceremony began with the parade of colours, then the national anthems of Philippines, Australia and United States of America. The Solemn Ceremony began with the Introduction as to what the event was about, followed by an invocation prayer, with the commemorative address. The laying of the wreaths by Eleanor Padilla (Mrs Visayas Australia 2013) assisted by Edna Voros Founding President of VAA and Cora Bojarski current Vice-President, preceded the bugle calls, firstly the Last Post with the silence then the Ode to the Fallen, followed by the Rouse.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
The closing was by the President of Visayan Association and APCO Inc. Mr Jhun Salazar who was also the emcees for the celebrations.
It was a touching ceremony that helps us to remember the sacrifice that was made to liberate the Philippines from Japanese tyranny and help to unite the Filipino People during their darkest days of World War II.
Afterwards, we also celebrated the birthday of Eleanor Padilla the winner of the Mrs Visayas Australia 2013, who also provided food and drinks for all to enjoy the occasion, followed by fun and games for both the children and the young at heart, which was organised by Juliet Vella and Elisabeth Gamo. A good day was had by all.