Friday, March 11


Frank Laughter at Common Sense Junction points to this day in history -- March 11, 1942 -- as the day on which General Douglas MacArthur, having been ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to leave the Phillipines and, specifically, the small, rocky island of Corregidor, boarded PT-41 for the harrowing, 3,000 mile trip to Australia.

As Mr. Laughter notes, MacArthur kept his promise ("I shall return ...") to return to his beloved Phillipines and mount a successful offensive against the Japanese occupiers. MacArthur, described once as "a warrior straight out of medieval times," was ready to die on Corregidor, rather than to leave it, his command center, his troops, and the Fillipinos he loved so dearly, to the Japanese. Indeed, MacArthur had confided to one of his men, "They (the Japanese) will never take me alive, Sid." Many don't recall that his wife and his son were there on the island with him and that Jean had refused to leave without him, despite her husband's futile protestations, saying that: "We have drunk from the same cup (and) we three shall stay together." Later, when the die had been cast by the president, she and her son were aboard PT-41 with the general.

May I recommend two excellent books on Douglas MacArthur: my favorite, "American Caesar," by William Manchester; also the excellent, "Old Soldiers Never Die," by Geoffrey Perret.