Leyte Landing Memorial
The Leyte Landing Memorial is a memorial to the landing of General Douglas MacArthur and his men at Red Beach. It is located in Candahug, a barangay of the municipality of Palo in the province of Leyte, part of the Visayas. Also known as the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park, the memorial consists of larger-than-life bronze statues of the general with other men, including then Philippine president Sergio Osmeña, Jr., standing in a manmade pool. The memorial was erected in tribute to MacArthur’s fulfillment of his promise to return to the Philippines after it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II in the Philippines. The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines ended soon after MacArthur landed at Red Beach on October 20, 1944 with 225,000 troops and 600 ships. The anniversary of this event is commemorated annually at the park with a reenactment of the famous landing, attended by local and foreign dignitaries.
Found at Red Beach in Barangay Candahug, Palo, Leyte, 5 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Tacloban City, the memorial marks the exact spot where MacArthur and other important personages waded ashore in the knee-high waters. Red Beach, so named due to the U.S. military’s color-coding scheme, was also the site where the 6th Army of the United States stormed ashore shortly before MacArthur’s return. A museum nearby displays historic photographs, a copy of MacArthur’s speech, and bronze casts of his footprints. Close by is the 50th Leyte Landing Anniversary Commemorative Rock Garden of Peace. Other nearby attractions include the historic Hills 120 and 522, which also figured in World War II, and the first-class MacArthur Beach Resort.
MacArthur made his promise to return to the Philippines when the Japanese occupied the country in 1942. By this time, the Allies had already decided to attack Japan directly rather than battle the Japanese in the Philippines. MacArthur, however, convinced President Roosevelt and Pacific Commander Chester Nimitz to send forces to the Philippines to fight against the Japanese forces that had overtaken the country. The U.S. 6th Army stormed the beach, following which MacArthur arrived in the company of Osmena, Romulo, the U.S. Fifth Air Force, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet under Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid on October 20, 1944. The U.S. Forces defeated the Japanese soon afterward in the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Statues were erected at the site to commemorate the event. During the term of President Ferdinand Marcos, First Lady Imelda Marcos, who originated from the province, developed the memorial site. It was then named Imelda Park but the original name MacArthur Park was restored after the Marcoses left the country. The historic stretch of beach was turned into the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in time for the golden jubilee of the Leyte Landing in 1994.
The park is 4 ½ hectares in land area. Along with MacArthur, President Sergio Osmeña, General Carlos P. Romulo, General Sutherland and other men are depicted here in the act of wading onshore. About 10 feet tall and cast in bronze, the statues of the important personages stand in a manmade pond. Plaques with the General’s significant words can be seen in front of the statues. On the left-hand plaque is written MacArthur’s promise, entitled “Proclamation,” while on the right-hand plaque is “A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise.”
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