MacArthur Commemorative Medal
In July of 1941, FDR named Douglas MacArthur Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Far East. Five months later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; the next day, they invaded the Philippines. MacArthur's troops were forced to retreat to Bataan, where they remained until the following May, when the Japanese broke through. The general managed to escape to Australia, but the 80,000 troops left behind were captured by hostile forces and forced to endure the infamous Bataan Death March. MacArthur, aghast, vowed to return to liberate the Philippines, which he did in 1944. This silver-oxidized bronze medal was struck by Capitol Medals Inc. in 1964, after the general died. It features his portrait and two of his famous quotations: "I shall return," in reference to the Philippines, and, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."