Eulogy for Manuel Quezon

From A Soldier Speaks: Public Papers and Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, edited by Major Vorin E. Whan, Jr., USA, Frederick A. Praeger, New York, NY, 1965. pp. 145-46

AUGUST 1, 1946

The personal friendship of General MacArthur and President Manuel Quezon was a close and long-standing one, going back to MacArthur’s first tour of duty in the Philippines, in 1903. It was Quezon who gave the General the opportunity to build the Philippine Army in 1936. Their collaboration in the dark days of 1941-42 deepened the regard of each for the other. It was a source of great regret to MacArthur that President Quezon did not live to see his homeland liberated from the Japanese. His old friend had died of tuberculosis in the United States less than three months before the Leyte landings. The eulogy that follows was prepared for the occasion of the return of President Quezon’s body for burial in the Republic he had done so much to bring into existence.

It is a source of deepest regret that my duties in the occupation of Japan at this critical moment have not permitted me personally to be present reverently to pay homage at the final rites over the bier which contains the mortal remains of President Quezon. He was my dear friend of long years, and it was my privilege to share with him many of the varying conditions which have beset human life during our age.
And in this tragic moment, as we close the scrolls of his life and works and hearken to their profound and controlling influence upon the destiny of his people, I attest to and join in the applauding judgment of history of the path of duty he strode upon this earth.

Of all men of all time, none more truly merited the appellation of patriot-statesman. Few could, as did he, replace the uniform of the soldier with the mantle of statescraft, yet maintain with voice and pen in undiminished vigor the crusading fight in the self-same cause for which he had fought by the violence of arms.

Throughout his long years of public service, never did he compromise the principle which he thus espoused – never did he divert his gaze from the goal which he thus resolutely sought. That he lived to bring its realization in full sight be-speaks the unconquerable determination with which he endowed his lofty purpose. That his native land now stands as one of the free and independent nations of the world is responsive, more than to all else, to the indomitable will by which he developed in the conscience of his people a firm belief in their destiny as a race, and an unshakable conviction that they lacked not the capacity fully to support independent sovereignty once attained.

Two years ago, while preparing to join in the final blow for his people’s liberation, death forever closed his lips and stayed his pen. but the immortal spirit which sustains his soul remains forever a dominant influence upon the destiny of the Republic for which he gave so much.

His hours of life were full -hours of peace and hours of war- of anguish and of joy-of defeat and of victory -and, as with all men, of failure and of success- the rattle of musketry as he fought through the uncharted mountain wilderness to seek by war what he later won by peace the bitter gall of defeat and surrender -the University cloisters where he learned of Christianity of Western culture, of tradition, and of the law- the shifting fortunes of political struggle as he rose steadily to the fame of position and power those great crusades he conducted beyond the seas his advocacy and his success in the cause of Philippine independence the clouds of war spreading over the Orient–the swirl of enemy bombers- the crash of death and blood and disaster -again the bitterness of defeat- then the exultation, with the rising tide of victory, as he saw our armies standing on the road back six hundred miles from Philippine soil-followed by still waters and silence.

His soul being before the seat of Almighty God, Judge of all men and of all things, Manuel Quezon’s mortal remains are now committed to the tender care of the people he loved so deeply and served so well- his cherished own. Father of this infant Republic, which he planned but never saw, he has returned -he has come home forever.

Douglas MacArthur
Author: Douglas MacArthur

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