H. Beaber - At Los Banos, Philippines - Sunday, January 7, 1945 Evening

What a day! I was to busy to continue writing this morning.

The sudden departure of the Japanese was unexpected although we know our forces were nearing the shores of Luzon.

Last evening, we attended an open-air concert of recorded music and went to bed at 9:30 – “black-out.” I was awakened about 4:30 AM by shooting in the distance and by some of our neighbors going to the front of the barracks. Leo woke, and said it must be nothing as the Japanese soldiers had been noisy all night ( a custom of theirs). But as we listened, we heard Americans talking and were soon told that the whole garrison was leaving and that we were to take care of ourselves. 

We had a hot meal of mush at 6:00 and went to the flag raising at 6:30. There were many wet eyes as Old Glory was raised on an improvised flag-pole. We sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The King” and again the handkerchiefs came out. Let me say that you who have never been deprived of seeing Old Glory and all “She” stands for – for three long years – cannot understand what that sight would means!

The Southern Cross was just disappearing from a southern tropical sky as the sun made the east red with its first rays. 2,000 people were grouped in front of Barracks No. 15, the Administration Building. Many were weak and sick from lack of food and unbalanced diet. Some in worn-out and patched clothing, some barefooted, some in wooden bakya. But all eyes were anxiously fixed on the slender bamboo.

After, the bugle sounded for the ceremony.