"Corregidor: Fortress of Freedom" Top 5 Page for this destination Corregidor Island by Cess8
Corregidor Island Travel Guide: 308 reviews and 1,098 photos
Corregidor is a small rocky island in the Philippines about 48 kilometers west of Manila which is stragetically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. This island fortress stands as a memorial for the courage, valor, and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who bravely held their ground against the overwhelming number of invading Japanese forces during World War II.
Also known as "the Rock," it was a key bastion of the Allies during the war. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines in December 1941, the military force under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur carried out a delaying action at Bataan. Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government. It was from Corregidor that Philippine President Manuel Quezon and General MacArthur left for Australia in February 1942, leaving behind Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright in command.
Although Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, the Philippine and American forces held out at Corregidor for 27 days against great odds. On May 6, 1942, their rations depleted, the Allied forces were forced to surrender Corregidor to Lt. Gen. Homma Masaharu of the Japanese Imperial Army after having successfully halted the Japanese advance on Australia. It was only two years and ten months later in March 1945 when the Allied forces under the command of General MacArthur recaptured Corregidor ... making good his promise to return to the Philippines.
The big guns of Corregidor are now silent and the ruins of buildings, structures, and tunnels in the island tell a very moving story of a war that has claimed so many lives. A visit to this former battleground is a memorable experience especially for those who cherish and value peace and freedom. In his speech delivered at the signing of the surrender of Japan aboard the U.S.S. Missouri at Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur said, "It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past - a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice."
"Bataan has fallen. The Philippine-American troops on this war-ravaged and blood-stained peninsula have laid down their arms. With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy.
The world will long remember the epic struggle that the Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastnesses and along the rugged coasts of Bataan. They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more than three months. Besieged on land, and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and America, these intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance should bear.
For what sustained them through these months of incessant battle was a force more than physical. It was the force of an unconquerable faith—something in the heart and soul that physical adversity and hardship could not destroy. It was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in those most priceless of all our human prerogatives.
Our men fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle. All the world will testify to the almost superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last, in the face of overwhelming odds.
The decision had to come. Men fighting under the banner of an unshakable faith are made of something more than flesh, but they are not impervious to steel. The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must come.
BATAAN HAS FALLEN! But the spirit that made it stand—a beacon to all the liberty-loving people of the world—cannot fall!
All of us know the story of Easter Sunday. It was the triumph of light over darkness, life over death. It was the vindication of a seemingly unreasonable faith. It was the glorious resurrection of a leader, only three days before defeated and executed like a common felon.
Today, on the commemoration of that Resurrection, we can humbly and without presumption declare our faith and hope in our own resurrection, our own inevitable victory.
We, too, were betrayed by Judases. We were taken in the night by force of arms, and though we had done wrong to no man, our people were bound and delivered into the hands of our enemies. We have been with mock symbols of sovereignty, denied by weaklings, lashed with repeated oppression, tortured and starved. We have been given gall to drink, and we have shed our blood. To those who look upon us from afar it must seem the Filipino people have descended into hell, into the valley of death. But we know that the patient and watching men who said their simple prayers in the hills of Bataan, have not lost faith, and we know that the hushed congregations in the churches throughout the land, drew from the gospel as Mass renewed hope in their resurrection. To all of them we give today the message of the angel of Easter morning: “Be not afraid, for He is risen.”
We, too, shall rise. After we have paid the full price of our redemption, we shall return to show the scars of sacrifices that all may touch and believe. When the trumpets sound the hour we shall roll aside the stone before the tomb and the tyrant guards shall scatter in confusion. No wall of stone shall then be strong enough to contain us, no human force shall suffice to hold us in subjection, we shall rise in the name of freedom and the East shall be alight with the glory of our liberation. "
(Written by Salvador Lopez; Read over “The Voice of Freedom,” from Corregidor, on April 9, 1942)
"In these hallowed surroundings where heroes sleep, may their ashes scatter with the wind and live in the hearts of those who were left behind. They died for freedom’s right and in heaven’s sight. Theirs was a noble cause."
Although Corregidor is not part of Bataan, their fates are intertwined. The fall of Bataan would hasten the fall of Corregidor, a month later. However, without this stand, the Japanese might have quickly overrun all of the U.S. bases in the Pacific. Bataan forced them to slow down, giving the allies valuable time to prepare for conflicts such as the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway which followed closely thereafter. Ultimately, more than 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war were forced into the infamous Bataan Death March. (source: wikipedia)
(Note: The forces in Corregidor was not part of the March, as is the common misconception. At the time of the Death March, Corregidor was still valiantly standing its ground).
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