little later Sunday morning (1 March), Tony Lopez, his wife Mary Louise,
sons Tom and Steve, daughter Yolanda, and Yolanda’s husband Ron arrived on
Corregidor for a two-day stay. (One son and one daughter remained behind in
had been a part of the original parachute team that landed here 65 years ago
to liberate the island. Tony had trouble getting approved for a passport,
which made the news in Denver, Colorado, and sparked nationwide sympathy.
several days the family couldn’t get any rest as they received phone call
after phone call from interested media people.
Despite having served in the U.S. military, he faced citizenship
verification questions due to records having been destroyed in a church
fire. The passport was finally issued, but so late that he was unable to be
here for the February 16th anniversary of the 503’rd parachute landing.
However, thanks to continued efforts by Paul Whitman, encouragement from
many people – including his family members and a blatantly pleading email
from us – he decided to come for the March 2 celebration marking the day of
MacArthur’s return to the island.
the way, this whole story began in December when Paul met Tony and about 20
other veterans of the 503rd at a reunion. Paul proposed the trip then, and
continued to urge Tony to come to Corregidor. The rest is now history.