Tuesday, April 5, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1910


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago today, April 5, 1964, General Douglas MacArthur* died at the age of 84.  The Five Star General, who passed away at Walter Reed General Hospital here in the Nation's Capital, had requested to be buried in Norfolk, Virginia rather than Arlington National Cemetery.

President John F. Kennedy pre-authorized a State Funeral and President Lyndon B. Johnson confirmed that action by ordering the General to be buried "with all the honor a grateful nation can bestow on a departed hero."

The General had also requested a week-long state funeral including his body lying in state at the 7th Regimental Armory in New York City, the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk and the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

62,000 people passed by the General's casket in the rotunda of the MacArthur Memorial which would also be his final resting place.  Attending services for President Johnson were the Attorney-General and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy.

General Maxwell Taylor said that President Kennedy's visit with General MacArthur had "made a hell of impression."  The General advised JFK that a US military effort in Southeast would be a disaster.

When he was urged to send combat troops, JFK told his military advisers...

 "You...convince General MacArthur, then I'll be convinced."

On March 12, 1962, Douglas MacArthur gave his acceptance speech for the Sylvanus Thayer Award to the cadets of West Point.  The General said...

"Duty, Honor Country:  Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be."

*Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas & graduated 1st in his class from the United States Military Academy in 1903. DM won 4 Silver Stars in WWI & the Distinguished Service Cross.  After the war he was Superintendent of the USMA and became the Army's youngest major general.

In WWII, DM was Field Marshall of the Philippine Army & after being forced to flee to Australia pledged "I Shall Return."  His army retook the Philippine Islands & he was awarded the Medal of Honor. 

DM served as commander of United Nations forces in the Korean Conflict & retired from the Army in 1951.


"General Douglas MacArthur, Sylvanus Thayer Award Acceptance Address,"

"JFK's Refusal to Send Combat Troops to Vietnam:  McGeorge Bundy's evidence,"

"Lessons In Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam," by Gordon M. Goldstein, Holt.

"The Last Salute:  Civil and Military Funerals 1921-1969,"

MacArthur Memorial
Norfolk, Virginia