I’m sharing this article that I came across on Google (from paloaltoonline.com) – a piece I wrote and published in the Palo Alto Weekly soon after my husband and I visited Palo, Leyte, Philippines, the first sister city of Palo Alto, California. Reading my article (again) surged warm nostalgic memories. For many years we were very active in Neighbors Abroad, one of numerous sister cities programs in the country that successfully bridged cities across oceans, through initiatives that fostered friendships, promoted inter-cultural understanding, and developed projects that contributed to the educational, socio-economic progress of communities. Most meaningful were the resulting acceptance of cultural differences, celebration of similarities, and maintenance of personal as well as group friendships in the interest of peace in the global community.
Palo Alto adopted other foreign sister cities in the program: Albi, France; Enschede, Netherlands; Linköping, Sweden; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Tsuchiura, Japan.
Publication Date: Wednesday Mar 24, 1999 (paloaltoonline.com)
A portrait of Palo, Palo Alto’s first sister city
by Linda P. Jacob
Editor’s note: Linda Jacob and her husband, Stanley, visited Palo in January as part of a trip to their native country with Harriet and Keith Clark, co-presidents of Neighbors Abroad. The Jacobs, who moved to Palo Alto 26 years ago, were making their first visit to the Philippines in a decade. Upon returning, Linda filed this report on life today in Palo Alto’s first sister city.
In the wee hours of Oct. 20, 1944, troops commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur stormed across Red Beach in the Philippine city of Palo. The soldiers met heavy Japanese resistance. The battle raged for several days and claimed hundreds of lives. But in the end, MacArthur fulfilled his “I shall return” promise of two years earlier, taking back the first Japanese-held stronghold in what would become many more months of island hopping until the war’s end.
Today on the shores of Red Beach is a reminder of the landmark World War II battle. On a stone memorial accompanying an eternal flame are inscribed the words, “In the spirit of reconciliation, peace, friendship and economic cooperation.”