Only nine hours after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese invaded the
On December 23, 1941, General MacArthur the highly decorated World War I veteran who had been wounded twice in combat, was in command of U.S. and Philippine forces set up headquarters on the island of Corregidor which is part of the Bataan peninsula in a retreat move to shore up defenses. The Japanese were too well prepared, and were overwhelming the Islands and on March 11, 1942, MacArthur, on orders from President Roosevelt, left the Island of Corregidor for Australia. Fighting continued until May 6, 1942 General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered all remaining Philippine and American forces. What came next was the most famous horror against American and allied forces of the Pacific war the "BATAAN DEATH MARCH" and three and a half years of brutal treatment for those who survived in Japanese POW camps.
After MacArthur and his families harrowing escape from Corregidor he made this simple but famous speech, “The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary objective of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return.”
This is a brief summary of the events that made the photo on display so important to those such as Pete Youakim who sacrificed so much in the war in the Pacific.