In March 1942 the Unites States forces on the Philippines had fought a bloody but unsuccessful action against the Japanese invasion. Famously when General MacArthur had then been compelled to evacuate the islands he had declared that “I will return”. Now that US forces were again landing on the Philippines he was not going to let the occasion go without publicity.
General Valdes accompanied General MacArthur and Philippine President Osmeña onto the landing beaches:
Entered Leyte Gulf at midnight. Reached our anchorage at 7 a.m. The battleships, cruisers, and destroyers opened fire on the beaches and finished the work begun two days before ‘A Day’ by other U.S Navy units. The boys in my ship where ready at 9:45 a.m. At 10 a.m. sharp they went down the rope on the side of the ship. Their objective was Palo.
At 1 p.m. General MacArthur and members of his staff, President Osmeña, myself, General Romulo, and Captain Madrigal left the ship and proceeded on an L.C.M for Red beach. The beach was not good, the landing craft could not make the dry beach and we had to wade through the water beyond our knees.
We inspected the area, and at two instances shots were fired by Japanese snipers. General MacArthur and President Osmeña spoke in a broadcast to the U.S. We returned to the ship at 6 p.m. under a torrential rain. We transferred to the Auxiliary cruiser Blue Ridge flagship of Admiral Barbey, as the SS John Land was leaving for Hollandia
For more accounts see the Philippines Diary Project
MacArthur was now able to declare “I Have Returned”. In a speech, delivered via radio message from a portable radio set at Leyte, on October 20, 1944 he sent this message:
This is the Voice of Freedom,
General MacArthur speaking.
People of the Philippines: I have returned.
By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.
At my side is your President, Sergio Osmena, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet. The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re-established on Philippine soil.
The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history.
I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.
Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike!
For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike!
Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of Divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!