Big Mac : A True American Idol
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I'll Be Back
Gen. Douglas MacArthur Memorial
Norfolk, Virginia (August 19, 2007)
10 Things You Should Know About Gen. MacArthur:
10. His father Gen. Arthur MacArthur served as Governor General of the Philippines after the country was bought from Spain in 1898.
09. His mother, Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur, a native of Norfolk, Virginia (where the Memorial is) stayed with him in a nearby hotel while he achieved remarkable marks while at West Point. In fact, he was considered to be one of the most famous Mama's boys.
08. He graduated first in his batch in West Point. Excellent in Sports, Academics and Military training, he was awarded "First Captain of the Corps of Cadets"
07. His first foreign assignment, to build bridges in the Philippines, while his father was then Governor General of the US possession.
06. He had 2 tours of duties in 1922 to 1930 to the Philippines. The 2nd one, after being president of the US Olympic contingent to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, was in 1928 when he served as Commander of the Philippine Army department.
05. He declined retirement from active military service in 1935, and proved his loyalty and love to the Philippines by accepting another offer to be assigned back in the Philippines, asking for the same pay and kind of housing as then Philippine President and a good friend, Manuel Quezon.
04. He stayed in Manila Hotel (to now known as the MacArthur suite, situated at the Penthouse) and loved going to the Army-Navy Club fronting the Manila Bay. His wife, Jean Marie Faircloth from 1937 to 1964 (the General's eventual death) was with him and his son, Arthur, was born in Manila in 1938.
03. Finally, retiring from US military (for a 2nd time), in 1937, he accepted the position as "Field Marshall of the Philippine Army" from good friend President Quezon. His role - to train the fledging Philippine Army.
02. In July 1941, he was recalled from retirement, to become Commander of the US Armed Forces in the Far East. He got his 3rd and 4th stars within the same year as the bombing of the Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
01. In March 1942, as the Japanese tightened its grip in the Philippines, and supply was lacking in Bataan where Gen MacArthur was holding fort, he was evacuated to Australia. Gen Douglas MacArthur realized that the trip to fortify the recapturing of the Philippines was in reality made to save him, announced his most famous lines, "I came out of Bataan, and I SHALL RETURN".
On October 20, 1944, he did come back and recaptured the country from the Japanese. He announced the invasion of Japan and after the Japanese surrender (after Nagasaki and Hiroshima was bombed), he rebuilt Japan for 5.5 years as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan.
He made a "Sentimental Journey" back to the Philippines 1n 1961 to receive the Philippine Legion of Honor, ranked as Chief Commander.
Three years after, he faded away.
My visit to the MacArthur Memorial was a coming home too. I read about his life as early as when I was 10 years old and started in me the passion for heroic work and my desire to also "save the world". (I realized it was his story and not the comic hero, Superman, that was the seed for my dream).
I guess with his several "returns" to the Philippines, he can be considered an honorary Filipino, for helping build bridges in 1903, for training the Philippine Army in the 1930s, for coming home and recapturing our land from the grasps of the Japanese in 1944.
Gen. MacArthur indeed is my personal American Idol!
Slideshow of the visit to Virginia