joy magnetism: I shall return

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Monday, October 20, 2008

I shall return

Magnet #241 - MacArthur Memorial

When I was young, my dad somehow got me interested in reading about the only 5-star generals ever. There were only five of them: George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, and Omar N. Bradley.

Like most Filipinos of the post-WWII generation, my dad had a special interest in General MacArthur, whose famous speech promised his return to help save the Philippines from Japanese Occupation. And today, in 1944 (about two months before my dad was born), MacArthur made good on his promise, and landed back on the island of Leyte. This famous image of the landing is forever stamped on the minds of Filipinos the world over.

So, it's no surprise that we totally had to visit the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA. I mean, how could we not. It's a great way to spend a quiet morning - a small museum of his personal belongings, he and his wife's final resting place, visitors center, a library and archives, and, duh, a little shop!

Mind you, MacArthur was a hard man, impatient and often at odds with his superiors. That's what I got from the books. But, I got second-hand confirmation, eventually. One holiday, we had some company over - this family and their grandfather who used to keep my sisters and me when we were little. During dinner, somehow MacArthur came up, and old Grandpa Joe, (whom I'd known for 20 years but didn't know he was a vet), sat at the head of the table listening to the conversation, and in mixed tone of admiration and ire, busts out with, "MacArthur! Now, he was a son of a bitch!"
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