The Oct. 20, 1944, landing on Leyte Island by forces commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur reversed and repaid Japan's capture of the Philippines from U.S. and local forces years earlier. And it fulfilled MacArthur's promise to Filipinos that he would return to the then U.S. Commonwealth where he had been military commander.
"October 20, we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the allied landing on Leyte Island's shores, a pivotal moment in the history of the War in the Pacific and in the human struggle for liberty," Bush said in a statement issued by the White House. "The Leyte landing is a central event in the long history of friendship between the peoples of the Philippines and the United States.
"Veterans of the Leyte landing: know that we will continue to recognize this date as a day to draw renewed inspiration from your courage and sacrifice ... We will pass on to our children what your great generation has passed to us: a world where liberty is the right of all humankind, and where men and women will remain vigilant in its defense."
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