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Ask Joyce: Are there many Chamorro survivors left from Liberation Day?

  • Published
  • By Joyce I. Martratt
  • 36th Wing
What a heart-wrenching query. Many of the older and very young people present during the Japanese occupation and concentration camps during World War II did not see Liberation Day. They were either killed or starved to death. 

Most of those who made it through to the liberation, however, settled in villages other than ones prior to the bombing with thanksgiving and resiliency. 

Today, many of these older generations are dying. The children and young adults who made it through are now the ones who keep the memories alive through stories handed down to the next generation in remembrance of family members, neighbors and friends. Though the stories are always told with much pain, they always recount how patriotic and loyal the Chamorros were to the land of the free - America. 

This pride did not diminish after WWII. During the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars many Chamorro Americans willingly enlisted to fight. Many came back in flag-draped coffins; many did not and are still considered missing in action. 

Today, descendants of those who perished in WWII and the wars after have not faltered in their loyalty as Americans. Chamorro men and women have put on the uniforms of every U.S. military service with resolve to die if necessary to protect the freedoms all Americans enjoy. 

The attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and other incidents by fanatical terror groups brought a renewed vow to fight this madness of hate. Many of our brave young men and women from our island have done just that. They, along with other Americans on the mainland, gave us their gifts - their lives. Those who are presently fighting in Irag, Afghanistan and other foreign soils are defending America even down to the smallest symbol - the island of Guam - from terrorism and destruction. 

As we draw closer to Liberation Day on Guam, whatever happened 63 years ago on this tiny island remains a catalyst to fight against terrorism and all the evils in our world. We must never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the red, white and blue on battlegrounds, in concentration camps and under bondage of oppression. We must stand alongside our men and women in harm's way and support them as they fight for home, family and honor. 

President Abraham Lincoln said something during his Gettysburg Address that I believe stands true today - a reminder for all Americans: "It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

si Joyce I. Martratt

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