October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur landed in Palo, Leyte to reclaim the Philippines from the Japanese.
Gen. MacArthur made true his famous vow “I shall return” following his escape from Corregidor on March 11, 1942 for Australia, together with his wife and four-year-old son, and others on orders of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to avoid being overrun by Japanese Forces.
“I shall return” is the last phrase of his statement before reporters:
“The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary objective of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return.”
On the morning of October 20, 1944, American forces led by General Douglas MacArthur landed on Red Beach in the municipality of Palo, roughly 14 kilometers from the Leyte capital Tacloban. He was accompanied by Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña and Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, landed on Palo, Leyte to reclaim the Philippines from the Japanese.
On that same day, at around 4:00 p.m., MacArthur, recalling his “I shall return” announcement on March 21, 1942, announced via radio transmission:
People of the Philippines, I have returned.
By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil–soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people.
At my side is your President, Sergio Osmeña, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet. The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re- established on Philippine soil.
The hour of your redemption is here.
Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.
Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearts, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!
In January 1945, his forces invaded the main Philippine island of Luzon. In February, Japanese forces at Bataan were cut off, and Corregidor was captured. Manila, the Philippine capital, fell in March, and in June MacArthur announced his offensive operations on Luzon to be at an end; although scattered Japanese resistance continued until the end of the war, in August. Only one-third of the men MacArthur left behind in March 1942 survived to see his return. “I’m a little late,” he told them, “but we finally came.”