December 20[-24], 1941*

It was wonderful to see the high spirits displayed by both American and Filipino soldiers. Young men with an arm or leg gone actually considered themselves fortunate. Those with shrapnel wounds, who in another month or so would be recovered, were making plans to fight the Japs.

Dramatic developments almost every day. Fort Stotsenberg had been evacuated. Ambulatory patients had been moved to the Estado Mayor, which formerly housed the 31st Infantry. Some of our army nurses and doctors had already left for Bataan and Corregidor. Grocery stores were jammed with frantic customers who bought staple and canned goods. Bombings increased in frequency and intensity.

The broadcasts were alarming: Eighty Enemy Transports Landed in Lingayen, only 175 Miles from Manila; Tank Combat on the Lingayen Shores.

Fifth Columnists were at work, illuminating strategic areas for the Japs with lighted flares. Enemy planes visiting us three and four times a day (and we never saw an American plane). Manila declared an open city, though the enemy continued with their bombings. Civilians fleeing from mountains to lowlands, and from one province to another, only to find the enemy there already. Jap bombs dropping while we trimmed our Christmas tree. Dewey Boulevard packed with traffic, Army vehicles of every description racing out of town. The Army was leaving! Four mammoth fires, with the giant flames licking the sky. It wasn’t a very Merry Christmas that was being ushered in.

*In view of the content, The Philippine Diary Project has amended the date of the entry to be inclusive of 20-24 December, 1941.

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