Filipino WWII veterans recall Leyte landing, prepare for 70th anniversary

By Balitang America, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 17, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – They may in their late 80’s, but ask any Filipino World War II veteran where they were on Oct. 20, 1944 and they still vividly remember where they were and what they were doing.

“That was the early part of the coming of MacArthur and we were still forming the guerilla forces in Northern Nueva Ecija,” said Rogaciano Tagtag, a World War II veteran.

“I was in our headquarters in the mountains of Tanay Rizal,” said Jose Reyes, another World War II veteran. US General Douglas MacArthur landed on the shores of Leyte and that day, and the Battle of Leyte, which lasted for nearly nine months, signified a turning point in World War II as American forces drove out the Japanese army in the Philippines.”

“Siempre we’re happy ,” said Enterio Corpuz. “That’s when the liberating of the Luzon was being started.”

“It was one of the memorable dates by which the conflict liberation of the Philippine started in Leyte going to Manila,” said Tagtag.

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Leyte landing, and for US-based Filipino veterans, this will be met with grand celebration.

On Sunday, a walk-a-thon in Carson honoring veterans will take place, and a forum to meet with the community on the 20th.

“We would love to have the young children come and participate in the proactive participative forum at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall,” said Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, of the Filipino American Veterans Foundation.

There is lots of anticipation in the Philippines as well. The Philippine government itself has been preparing the typhoon ravaged Leyte for the historic anniversary. The theme in the original landmark: “Yesterday’s Heroes, Today’s Inspiration in the Road to Recovery.”

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