General Douglas MacArthur and Governor Jonathan Belcher






    "This is the Voice of Freedom, General MacArthur speaking... ."

    The resonant voice cracked over the Signal Corps microphone. "Rally to me! [R]ise and strike! . . . For your homes and hearths, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of Divine God points the way."

    The listening people heard him as he stood on the beach of Leyte on that day in October 1944, as people had heard him from the darkness of the tunnel on Corregidor. Hours previously, the shores had radiated with the flash of phosphorus and reverberated with the thunder of shells. MacArthur had disembarked from a cruiser, and while being transported toward shore, had left his barge when it ran aground fifty feet from shore, and dressed in his khaki uniform, had waded through knee-deep waters to walk the final few yards to the beach. He had sailed into the region's waters on the cruiser Nashville just before midnight, when the darkness had seemed most ominous. He had read the Bible in the privacy of his cabin, and had prayed for the soldiers who fought that morning.

    An awe-inspiring figure, MacArthur urged the people to fight for their homes and their heritage. He told them to think of future generations, to press on without wearying. Indeed, his was the voice of American freedom. Ironically, the emblem affixed to MacArthur's army hat was the Great Seal of the United States, which apparently derived its origin from the Belcher heritage that was also MacArthur's own.

Aurelia Belcher

    Historians have said that General Douglas MacArthur's grandfather, Judge Arthur MacArthur, had a fine instinct for family. He immigrated from Scotland to America, and in his new country, he shone in American legal circles, first as a lawyer and then as a Judge Advocate. In 1844, Judge MacArthur found the proper girl he thought should be his wife, and he married her in Massachusetts--the state formerly known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which from 1730-1741 was under the rule of American Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757), "Commander-in-Chief and supreme Governor of New England" and Vice-Admiral of the same.

    The girl whom Arthur MacArthur married was Aurelia Belcher--"the proper girl," said Judge MacArthur, "to become mother of the MacArthurs in America."

    The next two generations of MacArthurs included sons whose brilliance illuminated the military corps. Judge Arthur and Aurelia (Belcher) MacArthur's son, Lt. General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the American Civil War and later was military governor of the Philippines. His sons were General Douglas MacArthur and Captain Arthur MacArthur III. Douglas, too, won the Congressional Medal of Honor (during World War II), thus making himself and his father the only father-son combination to each win a Medal of Honor until the coming of the 21st century. Thus, Aurelia Belcher was the ancestress of two Medal of Honor recipients: General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., of whom she was the mother, and General Douglas MacArthur, of whom she was the grandmother.

MacArthur's Magnificent Destiny

    General Douglas MacArthur was a man of destiny. As a friend of MacArthur's said once, he was an example of a true born leader. MacArthur's mind could comprehend the total picture and make his very words come alive. He was interested in the navy as well as the army, navigation and mathematics as well as tactics, and history as well as current events. It was said that few knew history as he did--that he could discuss the lives of famous men as if he personally knew them. In addition to his fame as a brilliant and gallant soldier, he was known for his dignity, noble bearing, vibrant personality, and gentlemanly qualities. Co-existing with his fighting ability was his true sense of humility and his profound worship of God. Much has been written about his strong character, his rare genius, and his baffling military tactics. Many biographers have tried to explain him, and from the many words that have been written or said about General Douglas MacArthur, one fact remains self-evident: here was a man of high caliber--one who shattered preconceptions about great leaders. His soldiers, to whom he was a loyal friend, stated it thus: "Here was a soldier."

    General Douglas MacArthur's well-known military career was outstanding. At West Point, he graduated first in his class; during World War I he was a divisional commander, and from 1919-1922, he was Superintendent of West Point. Sent to the Philippines in 1922, he was chosen to be Army Chief of Staff in 1930. When World War II broke out, he was returned to active duty and was made the United States Commander in the Far East. It was during World War II that he gave the greatest exhibitions of his command ability, and his victories inspired the world. In 1944, he became a five-star general.

    He was one of the greatest leaders of the Western forces during World War II. With his invaluable aid, that war resulted in a victory for the United States and its Allies. Each passing year, each new war, seemed to invigorate MacArthur to perform yet greater feats of skill and strategy; he was indefatigable and indomitable. General MacArthur demonstrated his knowledge, farsightedness, and wise judgment once again during the 1950's, but unfortunately, Harry T. chose to ignore the larger picture.

    Foremost in MacArthur's mind were these words: Duty--Honor--Country. His bravery and dedication above and beyond the call of duty, for which he received numerous military decorations, were the surface manifestations of the beliefs that comprised this great man's intrinsic core. MacArthur once said that he thought loyalty was the greatest military quality, and true to his ideal--which, incidentally, is also the Belcher motto--he lived up to that motto: "Loyal to the death."

The Correlation Between the Beliefs of

General Douglas MacArthur and Governor Jonathan Belcher

    The MacArthur commanders were endowed with fighting spirit. Their military careers were dedicated to upholding the words General Douglas MacArthur repeated to the West Point cadets: Duty--Honor--Country. Those, said MacArthur, are the hallowed rallying points, the moral code of those who guard our culture and heritage. With such a knowledge, MacArthur could call out, "Rally to me!" and the people would know that the person to whom they rallied was representative of Duty--Honor--Country.

    Your duty, honor, and country are your passwords, said MacArthur; they "reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be." It was the code of the officer and the gentleman and stood for "the things that are right." It involved a policy of thoroughness--"to be clean, to live clean, and to think clean." "[E]very hypocrite, every troublemaker" will try to "downgrade" those beliefs "even to the extent of mockery and ridicule," MacArthur said.

    Likewise, Governor Jonathan Belcher told his son: There will be "those who may be wicked enough to ridicule your sobriety."

    MacArthur cheered those who sought to have the "heart that is clean, a goal that is high."

    Likewise, Governor Belcher applauded those who "h[e]ld fast" their "virtue and religion."

    God is the mainstay of armies, MacArthur stressed; the Lord's divine guidance points the way to victory.

    Likewise, Governor Jonathan Belcher told one of his nephews during the French and Indian War of the 1750's that "we have all reason to be thankful to God for the signal success with which he has been pleased to favor the king's troops and ships to the eastward."

    The soldiers, said MacArthur, are the ones who have guarded and upheld the American traditions of "liberty and freedom, of right and justice." The military must be strong, he emphasized, for "in war there is no substitute for victory," else "the nation will be destroyed."

    Likewise, upon learning of the distress of General Braddock at the beginning of what would be called the French and Indian War, Governor Jonathan Belcher sent Secretary Peters this urgent message: "I hope God Almighty will on this fatal and desperate occurrence raise up, inspirit, and invigorate the southern colonies to raising two or three thousand men immediately to go and join General Braddock. I think it of the highest importance that a vigorous push be made...."

    A strong army was needed to preserve the safety of the American colonies and to fight for the people's homes and hearths. Thus, in a burst of activity, the energetic governor sent letters to rally the colony's legislature (the Assembly) and facilitated the passage of messages from surrounding provinces, Fort Cumberland, Philadelphia, and Annapolis.

    Incidentally, when General Douglas MacArthur stood in a major strategic conference to gain support for his Inchon amphibious landing, during his brilliant thirty-minute performance he used as an example the capture of the city of Quebec during the French and Indian War.

    General MacArthur told the soldiers at West Point that when the future seemed darkest, that was the time to press on--"to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

    When the future seemed darkest, that was when Governor Jonathan Belcher was at his fighting best, too. Out of the long dark tunnels of gloom he spoke to the Assembly, his booming voice resounding through the Council Chamber--a voice that transcended that day of August 9, 1755 and transmitted itself over the time waves of history: "We must not sink under the gloom of the late unhappy event ... [O]ur spirits must rise with our difficulties and we must make the more strong and vigorous push to emerge out of them...." He told Secretary Read, "I say to meet me here tomorrow." The governor's plan of action: To proceed with the "vigorous push" for safety and freedom--to fight against the foreign invaders who had attacked America.

    As a U.S. President once said of General Douglas MacArthur, the "great deeds of men live forever." The deeds that Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Belcher performed arose from their individual qualities, ideas, and beliefs. They both were fighters for freedom--because they both were men of morality, loyalty, and courage.

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