Philippines Re-enacts Luzon Landing 50 Years Ago
LINGAYEN, Philippines (AP) _ Mock Japanese warplanes swooped overhead and Filipino marines stormed ashore today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. landing on the main Philippine island of Luzon in World War II.
On Jan. 9, 1945, the U.S. Sixth Army under Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed at this town about 140 miles north of Manila. The capital, which had been under Japanese control, fell a month later.
President Fidel Ramos and a small group of American veterans were among about 10,000 people who turned out on the wide, sandy beach to watch the mock landing.
Explosive charges buried in the sand simulated the naval bombardment which preceeded the landing. The program also featured actors in Japanese uniforms beating and mistreating civilians and battling Filipino guerrillas.
The ceremony was a scaled-down version of a lavish production Oct. 20 that marked the 50th anniversary of MacArthur’s return to the Philippines at Leyte Island, 350 miles south of Manila.
After pinning down the Japanese on Leyte, the American forces took the central island of Mindoro, setting the stage for the main attack on Luzon.
The Japanese defeated a U.S.-Filipino force on the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor island in 1942 to gain control of the Philippines.
MacArthur escaped to Australia, vowing, ``I shall return.″