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HARRY MORTON PECK

Commanding Officer

515th Coast Artillery

(Anti-aircraft)

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Mukden POWs


JUL. 10, 1951 — President Truman in the Oval Office accepting as a gift from the people of the Philippines, a rock from Corregidor presented by a delegation including the Ambassador from the Philippines to the United States, Joaquin Elizalde (in dark suit to the right of the gift) and World War II veterans from the Philippines and the U.S. who were wounded at Bataan and Corregidor. Colonel Harry M. Peck, Commanding Officer, 515th Coast Artillery, is second from the left in photograph. Abbie Rowe, Photographer. (Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, MO.)

 

 

President Truman’s remarks upon accepting a piece of the Rock of Corregidor as a gift from the people of the Philippines:

 

Mr. Ambassador, Colonel, Major—

 

It gives me great pleasure to accept this token from the Philippine people for the people of the United States of America.

It is the symbol of our friendship and partnership in war and in peace, and it will be a continuing symbol of our friendship from now on.

I shall send it to the Smithsonian Institution here in Washington, where almost all the American people can have a look at it.

Sometime or other, everybody in the United States goes to the Smithsonian Institution, and I want this token of friendship from the Philippine people to be in a position where every American can see it when they come to Washington.

I am very thankful for this presentation, and I appreciate it most highly, Mr. Ambassador, Colonel and Major. It is very kind of you.

 

“The President spoke at 12:10 p.m. in his office at the White House. His opening words referred to Joaquin M. Elizalde, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, and to Colonel Harry Peck and Major Manuel Acosta who took part in the action of Corregidor and Bataan during World War II. The presentation took place during Philippine Achievement Week, which marked the progress of the Philippine Republic during its five years of Independence.”

 

— Gerhard Peters

 

The stone was taken from the mouth of Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor, island fortress which American forces defended bitterly before surrendering to the Japanese on May 6, 1942. Polished and mounted on a slab of narra wood, it bears the following inscription on an inset bronze plaque:

 

“Rock of Corregidor, symbol of resistance — Philippino and American courage in the face of failure, of nobility in time of triumph. From the people of the Philippines to the people of the United States. July 10, 1951.”