"I came through and I shall return," those were the famous words announced by General Douglas MacArthur on March 20, 1942, as he arrived in Australia, following an audacious escape from Japanese-occupied Philippines. Their island in the Philippines - which had been an American territory until the Japanese occupation - had been surrounded by the Japanese. MacArthur's defense and escape captured the imagination of Americans back home and he became a symbol of resistance.
His escape from near certain capture was welcomed by most, though Joseph Goebbels named him the "fleeing general" and Benito Mussolini called him a coward. Nevertheless MacArthur promised to return, and after being awarded the Medal of Honor was put in charge of all American activities in the South West Pacific.
Over the next two years, bitter fighting would allow MacArthur's promise to come true. On October 20, 1944 MacArthur waded ashore in Leyte after his troops had invaded and secured a beachhead. He then declared triumphantly: "People of the Philippines: I have returned."
MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, pictured above, was opened in 1977 and the statues, sculpted by Anastacio Caedo, were inaugurated in 1981.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 1942-02-22 World War II: President Franklin Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as American defenses collapse
- 1942-03-20 General Douglas MacArthur vows "I came through and I shall return" after escaping Japanese-occupied Philippines
- 1944-10-20 US forces under General Douglas MacArthur return to the Philippines with the landing of the US 6th army on Leyte
US WWII General