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Virtual Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Japanese Surrender at the American Residence in Baguio


American Residence in Baguio

September 3, 2020

Good afternoon and welcome to the American Residence in Baguio and our Embassy in Manila. Secretaries Lorenzana and Locsin, I am grateful and delighted that we are gathered both in person and virtually to pay tribute to a very important moment in our history.

Seventy-five years ago today, General Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in the presence of U.S. Lieutenant-Generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright here at the American Residence in Baguio. The signing of that document brought one of the darkest and saddest periods in history to an end.

The signing was a solemn occasion as the world shifted its focus from conflict to recovery. The devastation in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere demonstrated that in global conflict, there are no real victors. Survivors feel the loss of loved ones, the despair of seeing the consequences of war around them, and the immense burden of rebuilding.

The signing of the Instrument also marked an opportunity to begin a post-war era where we would rebuild and reunite. This opportunity, coupled with the indomitable spirit of Americans, Filipinos, and others around the globe enabled an unprecedented era of development and collaboration. To that end, the shared sacrifice of Americans and Filipinos in World War II led directly to our formal alliance, established in 1948, which has grown into a lasting partnership that goes well beyond mutual defense.

Today, we find ourselves facing an entirely new and unprecedented set of challenges to our people, our economies, and our nations. In the global battle against COVID-19, our long-standing partnership is enabling the strong U.S.-Philippines cooperation on display today. Together, we are tackling the public health, economic, and education challenges created by the virus. And as we reflect on our shared history, I am deeply grateful to those who came before us to lay the unshakable foundation for our deep friendship and partnership.

From our soldiers and the vast network of support personnel serving together on the battlefield in 1945, to our scientists and public health experts collaborating today, the U.S.-Philippines relationship continues to evolve to meet whatever challenges that come our way. Time and time again, history has demonstrated that the United States, Philippines, and Japan are strongest when we work together as friends, partners, and allies.

So thank you, again, for joining us today to commemorate this pivotal moment in U.S.-Philippines and world history. Let me conclude with a message to the Filipino and American veterans who sacrificed so much during World War II. Today would not be possible without your incredible acts of bravery and courage. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You have left an indelible mark on history that will not be forgotten.

Maraming salamat. Thank you very much. Please enjoy the program.

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