MULTIMEDIA

SLIDESHOW: A soldier’s sacrifice, a mission for Debbie 75 years after the Leyte Landing

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2019 04:41 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2019 09:49 AM

As the Philippines commemorated the 75th year of the Leyte Gulf Landing of General Douglas McArthur on October 20, a handful of remaining veterans arrived in Tacloban City to pay their respects to the memory of their fallen comrades. 

Former Australian sailor David Henry Mattiske visits the MacArthur's Landing memorial in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019. "It was the Philippines campaign that finally destroyed Japan," he said in an interview. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Among them, one woman was on a mission to find out more about her great uncle.
 
Debbie Dumond, approached World War II veterans at the Leyte Landing commemoration program with a prepared line.

Debbie Dumond shows a picture book of her great grand uncle Adam Ranzie, during the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary Commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019, as she searches among the World War II veterans who might have known the soldier. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

“This is Staff Sergeant Adam Ranzie. He was in the Charlie Co., 19th Regiment in the Infantry and he was onboard the Landing Craft Able Personnel #31 where they were coming out on the red beach."

"He got mortared, (the Japanese mortar shelling) and he died. He didn’t make it to the beach—he was killed in the water.”

She showed a scrapbook of sorts, with photographs of her great uncle Adam. 

As the only remaining relative of Sgt. Ranzie, Debbie has made it her mission to find out more about her great uncle, who died on the fateful day of the Leyte Landings of October 20,1944. 

“He was never married, but he had a fiancé.”

Debbie Dumond shows a picture book of her great grand uncle Adam Ranzie, during the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary Commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019, as she searches among the World War II veterans who might have known the soldier. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

With the commemoration of the Diamond Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings of General Douglas McArthur, comes stories of hundreds of sailors, soldiers and Filipino guerillas. 

The few Filipino and American war veterans were joined by those who listened to solemn speeches and offered prayers and songs for those who fought during the war. The Battle of Leyte was one of the key historical moments that ended the Japanese campaign in the Philippines. 


Many Filipino-American and Australian soldiers lost their lives during this war. Thousands of WWII veterans have died with the remaining few already in their 90’s. Many were too weak to attend the event.

Debbie Dumond bows as she listens to the Philippine National Anthem during the commemoration of the Leyte Landing's Diamond Anniversary at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019. Dumond carried a picture book of her great grand uncle, Staff Sergeant Adam J. Ranzie, who died during the Battle of Leyte in 1944. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

When Debbie heard the news that the Philippines would celebrate its anniversary this year, she wasted no time. 


“I found that there was a 75th Anniversary, I thought I must come to this, to honor my uncle, my great uncle, so that's why I came here and then try to find out exactly where he died.”

She recalled and how her great uncle sacrificed his life for a people thousands of miles away from his own country.

“I think maybe... I don’t know, I wanted to come here to just honor him, and it's so much more. Then I met the people (Filipinos) that he died for, and it’s like so worth it. You are good people, so good people.”

Debbie Dumond talks to some World War II veterans among the US and Australian servicemen at the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary Commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A World War II Veteran is helped as they conclude a portion of the program at the Leyte Landings Diamond (75th) Anniversary Commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Army veterans march during the commemoration of the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A Filipino World War II veteran arrives to attend the Leyte Landings Diamond (75th) Anniversary commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

PFC Pablo Forteza (96) looks on as fellow World War II veterans march during the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Debbie Dumond has been searching for any links to her great uncle, Adam Ranzie as she attends the Leyte Landings Diamond Anniversary commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on October 20, 2019.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News