Manila commemorates 74th anniversary of city's liberation in World War II
The City of Manila commemorated the 74th anniversary of its liberation from Japanese forces on Monday with a flag ceremony at the Freedom Triangle and a program lasting one hour.
''Wars are never a cause for celebration but we do have a reason to look back and remember this never to be forgotten event in our city and in our country," Manila Mayor Erap Estrada said in a message delivered by City Administrator Ericson Alcovendaz.
"The scars left behind by the battle of Manila may have faded but the legacy of courage and endurance that it left behind remains with us," Estrada added.
Representatives of different countries and organizations were also present to offer a wreath during the rites which was also attended by Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.
Among those present were Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arrendondo, Australian Defense Attache Group Captain Ian Goolb, Lt. Commander Patrick Panjeti of the Embassy of United States of America, Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Wha Chi 48th Squadron Veterans Post's former President Rolley So, American Legion Auxiliary Philippines' President Carmenchita Mabane, Raul Urgello, executive vice president of Veterans Federation of the Philippines o representing Hunters ROTC Guerrilla Association, and Descendants of Chinese Filipino World War 2 Heroes, Inc. founding resident Thomas Sy.
Other attendees were Memorae Manila 1945 Foundation, Inc.'s president Jose Cabarrus, National Historical Commission of the Philippines' executive director Ludovico Badoy and Assistant Manila Superintendent Marivic Leano of the Department of Education.
The month-long battle from February 3 to March 3, 1945 between Philippine and American forces against the Imperial Japanese forces is considered one of the greatest tragedies of World War 2, the 2015 Official Gazette said, quoting historian William Manchester.
Around 100,000 people died and government buildings turned into rubble during intense fighting.
Manila City was declared as second most devastated city in the world after World War II.
"Today we honor the courage of those who fought here and elsewhere so that democracy and freedom will be retained in our country and in the world. We honor the memory of many innocent civilians who lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes and livelihood," Estrada said.
"We would also like to express our gratitude to those from other countries, the United States of America in particular, who came to fight with us in this battle. Our friendship endures, even as we remember how we remember how you helped our country in its darkest hours," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS