President Aquino leads commemoration of 70th year of Leyte Gulf Landing
“Beyond cataloguing the horrors of war, let us honor the peace that has reigned among our nations for close to 70 years. Let us renew our commitment to the strong and enduring friendships between the Philippines and its wartime allies, and perhaps most meaningfully, the countries that were once its foes,” he said.
President Aquino said countries that were enemies during World War II have united as friends to help the Filipino people recover from the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda in November last year.
“Through these friendships, we saw, just last year, vessels bearing the proud names of those that had fought at Leyte Gulf, once more journeying to the Philippines: Ise from Japan, Washington and Denver from America,” he said.
He recalled that 70 years ago, ships with these names engaged in battle, seeking to eliminate the threat of the other.
However, in November last year, they came here as partners to demonstrate their unity with the Filipino people at a time of tragedy, the President said.
“Typhoon Haiyan saw countries who belonged to the Allied and Axis Forces, all once characters in a great war, united as friends in their desire to help the Filipino people,” he said.
The event, held at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park here, marked the 70th year since US General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines to free the country from its Japanese invaders.
This year’s theme was "Leyte 1944, Leyte 2014: Yesterday’s Heroes, Today’s Inspiration on the Road to Recovery.”
“Thus, today, as we salute those who gave their lives here at Red Beach, and as we continue a pilgrimage of memory that began in Bataan and Corregidor, and which culminates in Manila next year, we remember the brave; we mourn the dead; and most of all, we commit to peace as the true legacy of a conflict that should never be repeated, and look to a shared future, founded on the trust we now extend towards each nation of good will, and nourished by the freedom we so cherish,” President Aquino said.
Also present at the ceremony were US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell, and representatives of Japan, New Zealand, and Canada.