Having read with interest the letters in The Times on Feb. 2 and Feb. 23 and again on March 16, telling about the liberation of internment camps in Manila 40 years ago, I thought it might be interesting to your readers to recall memories of a child not in concentration camps but right in the midst of battle between the First Cavalry and the Japanese army.
After the camps were liberated the Americans pushed toward Manila Bay and as the Japanese retreated they set fire to everything in its path. We lived just a few miles from Manila Bay and for days we could see the fires and hear the rumbling of tanks drawing closer and closer to us.
Within a few days a shell took the upper story of our house as it whizzed by, leaving the downstairs in shambles. But, for a few days at least, we did have cover and were able to offer shelter to refugees fleeing to our neighborhood as the Japanese set fires to their homes.
Soon it was our turn and in the dead of night we heard the enemy setting fire to our neighbors' homes and shooting the people as they tried to escape. We snuck out the back, through a stone wall that my father had earlier camouflaged with leaves and branches, after having chopped a hole through it, and ended up in a field behind the house. We stood there in stunned silence as we saw our house ablaze along with every other house on the block.