News Release

Church Offers Wreath on Memorial Day

The sun shone brightly on the morning of the 26th of May as people, young and old alike, converged at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, to celebrate Memorial Day.  

Men and women veterans of the war, wrinkled with age, stood proudly alongside ambassadors, government and military personnel, and representatives from various organizations to remember the fallen.

President Brent H. Nielson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered a wreath of flowers, along with other organizations, in respect for the heroes who sacrificed their lives for faith and freedom.

IMG 4776

Dignitaries and ambassadors from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and other countries attended the service. Vice-President Jejomar Binay represented the Philippines. American Ambassador Harry R. Thomas Jr. presented a wreath and gave a Memorial Day message honoring those American and Philippine soldiers who served their countries.

The presentation of the national flags was very impressive as the honor guards of America and the Philippines marched together to present their flags before the singing of their national anthems. Religious leaders representing Jews and Christians offered prayers.

The Philippine Army Band enthusiastically played military marches and at the conclusion of the service played taps to a hushed crowd. Remarks were made by representatives from the American Battle Monuments Commission and the American Association of the Philippines.

Lt. General Emmanual T. Bautista, AFP Chief of Staff, and Lt. General Kenneth J. Glueck of the United States Marines represented their countries and gave inspirational messages on the sacred memorial cemetery.  At the conclusion of the service, Philippine Army Guards fired their rifles in a fitting ceremonial salute

Cheryl Ferrin (USA) said, "There was such a spirit of peace during the ceremony. It was wonderful to honor and remember those who died serving their country. We must carry on in their footsteps. Devotion, loyalty, integrity and love permeated the air at the service."

Haidi Fajardo (Philippines) reflected, “Both of my grandfathers fought during the war. Lolo (grandfather) Kikoy was a guerilla leader who had to escape to Bohol at one time since my grandmother had to give birth to my mother and the Japanese army was pursuing them.

My other Lolo, Col. Dominico Flores, died as he fought against the Japanese leaving my dad and his seven other siblings fatherless. The Memorial Day is very meaningful to me because of my grandfathers’ stories of valor and sacrifice. Alongside the Americans, they offered their lives for freedom. When I saw the veterans last Sunday, both Americans and Filipinos, standing side by side just like the old days, a deep sense of patriotism swelled within me and my heart goes out to those who fought valiantly. The Memorial day was a beautiful, solemn and sacred affair."

IMG 4828

Each Memorial Day, a service is held to honor the soldiers who fought in the conflict.  At the conclusion of World War II, enemies of freedom were defeated following a tremendous sacrifice of life. Many call the veterans of World War II the greatest generation because of the magnitude and ferocity of the war and the sacrifice that was made in order to achieve freedom.

Lynn Bailey (USA) said, "It was very humbling to recognize the thousands who gave their lives to preserve freedom for both the United States and the Philippines and to realize the sacrifices made by their families and loved ones."

The Philippines suffered as much as any country. They were drawn into the war 10 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor as the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the Philippines. The American-Philippine forces were compelled to surrender in April 1942.

What followed is remembered by all as the Bataan Death March where over 10,000 men died. The nation suffered tremendous destruction and loss of life during the war. American forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur landed in Leyte on October 20, 1944.  The liberation of the Philippines then began. Fighting was fierce.  Americans and Filipino guerilla forces suffered great losses. The Philippines was finally freed on September 2, 1945 when a formal surrender was signed by the Japanese which ended World War II.


Following the war, a site was dedicated to honor the fallen Americans and Filipinos who were serving with US forces in the Southwest Pacific. The cemetery site is 152 beautiful acres of gently rising ground. The more than 17,000 graves represent 13,434 single identified remains of US soldiers and 570 Filipinos. There are also 3,644 graves of single unidentified remains.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.